The reports of clashes with police and numerous arrests sounds more like 1968 than 2008. CNN reports that the situation is quite serious.
At least 56 people were arrested Monday after police fired projectiles and used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a crowd demonstrating near the site of the Republican National Convention.
5,000 demonstrators marched peacefully, but as often happens, a small splinter group broke off, began damaging private property, and earned the attention of law enforcement personnel.
According to the New York Times, it was a bit more than a splinter group, and more than 56 were arrested.
Thousands of protesters, many of them demonstrating against the war in Iraq, marched on Monday through the streets outside the arena where the Republican National Convention is being held, with some smashing windows and battling with the police in clashes that led to more than 250 arrests.
Not unlike the questions which arose in the sixties, one could ask if the police in Minneapolis started the problem with their heavy-handed approach. The internet was aswarm with stories of pre-emptive raids on peaceful groups of would-be demonstrators. And if the so-called anarchists came planning to make trouble, could it not be explained by the police-state tactics of the federal government over the last decade or so? Some believe that when the government is oppressive, the people have an obligation to respond forcefully.
Daisy wrote about demonstrations on her wonderful blog, Daisy's Dead Air, which was cross posted at Feministe, where she's been a guest blogger. She concluded her account of personal demonstration experience with the following thoughts and questions.
I have seen precious little coverage of any demonstrations in Denver. Are activists saving their ire for John McCain and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis? One can only hope. Or are demonstrations simply not the happening thing these days? Why do you think that is? Certainly, we didn’t have blogs and the internets to broadcast our POVs in those days. Climbing up on the proverbial soapbox, starting a picket line or writing commentary in alternative newspapers were our only outlets.
Well, it certainly looks like some of the activists turned out for McCain, at least according to the mainstream media. One interesting idea that came out of Daisy's post is that perhaps the activists of today are more likely to be found in front of a keyboard than on a picket line. For decades the question has been asked did the sixties activism have any lasting effect on society? Or was it inexorably absorbed and crushed by the increasingly-powerful government? Will today's anti-establishment voices be heard any better through the new media at their disposal?
What do you think?