Audio from WDFH's coverage of the 2004 Republican
As we did with the Democratic
National Convention, which was held in July in Boston, WDFH provided
extensive coverage of the late summer Republican National Convention in
New York City. The protests played a large role at the RNC, but they
were largely ignored by the mainstream media. (By contrast, protests
played almost no role in Boston). Because the protests were
newsworthy and were being so badly underreported by the mainstream press,
we expanded our coverage: in addition to interviews with elected officials
and delegates inside the convention center, we also aired a significant
number of interviews conducted at various protests (though by no means all
of them) throughout the week.
Our coverage included analysis
from a panel of local expert commentators. We also aired coverage
from the Pacifica Radio Network, which included live broadcasts of the
major speeches in their entirety.
WDFH's field reporters for the
convention and the protests were Josephine Arce at Madison Square Garden
and Lou Cannizzaro, Gil Bassak, Vinny Cohan, Robyn Leary, and Marc Sophos
on the streets of Manhattan. Our coverage was anchored by Jared
David and Jim Carney at the WDFH studios.
The interviews are presented here
in roughly chronological order, starting with audio from the major protest
march on Sunday, August 29, the day before the convention officially
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from WDFH's RNC coverage: 1 |
2 | 3
| 4 |
inside WDFH's studios (these
were taken during the Democratic convention earlier this summer; the
scene in the studios was substantially the same as it was during the RNC): 1
| 2 |
Go to WDFH's coverage of the
Sunday, August 29
Although the convention didn't
start until Monday, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Manhattan
on Sunday in a massive march, mostly protesting against the Republican
convention and the Bush administration. The march, which started in
Union Square and continued up Seventh Avenue through Chelsea toward
Madison Square Garden, was for the most part peaceful. The New York
Times described it as the largest organized protest connected with a
political convention in US history.
Lou Cannizzaro spoke to people
going to the protest march.
Richard Deats, of Nyack, New York, editor of Fellowship Magazine of
the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Speaks on opinions on the war
and his reasons for protesting this war and the current administrations
Peter Titus, from Chestnut Ridge, New York, concerned citizen
marching with Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice.
Expresses his feelings for being here today and vocalizes his opinions
to the Bush administration.
Janet Chisholm, coordinator of Non Violence Training for the
Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), a multi-faith-based organization.
Talks about making social change without violence; cultural change comes
from grassroots, not from the top. Protesting against the war and
the violence in the world today.
George Patonavic, president of SPACE — Stony Point Action Committee
for the Environment. Talks about tenuous state of country today
and need for a change in administration.
Abigail Addams, with
Greenedragon.org. Going to the march with her organization and
declaring independence from the "Bush the Second Monarchy," as she puts
it. They are protesting against the RNC's exploitation of NYC and
the Sept. 11 attacks. Also speaks on women's rights, the economy,
the war, and Bush as a divider, not a uniter. Greenedragon.org is
a not-for-profit group; name derived from Greene Dragon Tavern in
Boston, where the Boston Tea Party originated.
Perry Emanual of West Haven, Connecticut, a veteran who served in
the Gulf War, protesting the Bush administration and the cutting of
veteran benefits. Feels strongly that politicians should serve the
people, not the corporations that contributed to their election funds.
WDFH's Gil Bassak spoke with protesters as well as
Bush supporters at the march.
Green Party presidential candidate. Says he's not
stealing votes but rather earning them. Thinks he's going to "win"
by getting more people to participate in the democratic process.
Alan Reid from Interfaith Voices. Sick of Bush and the war and
won't take it any more.
Matt Rice of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
introducing Chris P. Carrott, who is running for President with his
running mate, Kernal Corn. They are promoting a healthy and
compassionate vegan diet. Gil asks the funniest question of the
day: Does the carrot talk? Answer: Nope.
John Alvarez of Syracuse, New York. A Bush supporter who says
that the protesters are a small minority of America: they are angry,
they use profanity, and they show, as he puts it, a "lack of
intolerance." A lack of intolerance...hmm, OK. Alvarez was
one of a couple of dozen pro-Bush, anti-abortion counterprotesters in
front of the Southgate Hotel at 31st Street and Seventh Avenue.
Desiree Bernstein, another pro-Bush counterprotester. She says
we need to stay the course fighting terrorism overseas; otherwise we
fight it at home. Maintains that abortion is killing off Blacks
and Hispanics. If Kerry is elected we'll lose the sanctity of
marriage. This is a Christian nation.
David Russky of Merrick, Long Island, New York. A recent
college grad who was in the city last night, got stuck, and decided to
watch the protest. Voting for Kerry; sees some good in Bush but
considers a lot of what he does to be stupid. Was impressed by
Kerry's acceptance speech at the DNC. Considers Kerry a war hero
who wants to stop the war; says that if drafted he will serve but does
not want to.
Monday, August 30
The convention began Monday evening. During
the day, there were more protests.
Vinny Cohan talked with
Kara Sebig and Leia Jools Jimenez at Union Square. They said
they don't like how Bush uses religion in the campaign and that the Iraq
war is "ridiculous." Commentary about the importance of
participation and protest, especially amongst like minded people.
Marc Sophos spoke with people near the
Still We Rise Coalition protest on Monday afternoon.
Adam Hurter of Northampton, Massachusetts. He's with the group
911truth.org. Says the September 11 commission report is
inadequate; the Bush administration is dangerous.
Christine Jansky and Stephanie Chacker of Jamaica Plain,
Massachusetts, of Dykes Against Bush. Discussion of gay
marriage and their NYC experience during the convention.
Joe Ramsey of Boston and Armande deBrecourt of
Queens (who joined the conversation in Part 4). Recorded on West
18th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, just downtown from
Madison Square Garden. This turned into long discussion and was
presented in six parts:
Part 1: Joe says the Iraq war was founded on lies; that the RNC is
exploiting Sept. 11 and seeking to have the American public
"mindlessly" sign on to the "war on terror"; talks about the Patriot
Act and the climate of fear; says that dissent is being repressed at a
time it is more needed than ever. Talks about the Still We Rise
Coalition march on Monday.
Part 2: Says protests are not really being directed at the
delegates; wants protest stories in the media to interrupt the
political message coming out of the convention. Says he thinks
the protests are speaking to undecided voters.
Part 3: Talks about possible chilling effect on protest
caused by law enforcement questioning of targeted individuals before
Part 4: Armande deBrecourt from Queens joins the
conversation. She talks about lack of an underground
organization to help protect people who are politically isolated.
Says the Bush "entourage" is wealthy and racist. Joe rejoins and
they talk about going it alone in Iraq; what it really means to
support the troops; whether peace with honor is possible, or
meaningful, particularly at the individual level.
Part 5: Talking about moderate face/extreme platform
contrast; Kerry's support of his vote to give Bush authority to invade
Iraq; whether the media are serving the public interest; what it would
mean symbolically to replace the Bush administration; and the need for
a grassroots movement to advance social change continuing after the
Part 6: Armande on the message she hopes to send to people
sitting on the sidelines. Joe on the power of grassroots organizing;
says the people are ahead of the politicians. Common working
people have fought for and won the civil rights we have.
WDFH's Josephine Arce, with technical production by
Gordon Brode, spoke with people at the convention inside Madison Square
Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska. Committees:
Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Foreign Relations, Select Committee
on Intelligence. Says what he thinks the party needs to do at the
convention to get the president's message out.
Jeremy DeGuzman, a 16 year old from West Virginia, with the Junior
Statesmen of America. Likes Bush's emphasis on tort reform.
Feels that protesters are "ignorant of issues" and that they just don't
like Bush because of the war. Wants Bush to focus on drawing votes
from among 18-24 year olds.
South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds, first term Republican
governor, former insurance executive. Convention must tell all the
good that's been done so far and describe step by step what needs to
happen in the future. Spins the size of the Sunday march to
100,000, far smaller than most other estimates (400,000-500,000).
Talks about role of federal government as protection (defense) and to
"look at overall economy." ["look at"?] Talks about effort
to defeat Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Talks about what Bush needs
to do in his speech Thursday night
Tuesday, August 31
At the convention, Josephine talked with
Gordon Pederson, a 77 year old retiree in the South Dakota state
legislature, an eight time delegate. He was wearing a vest covered
with over 100 pins collected and traded over the years. Says Bush
needs to level with the people; believes Bush tells the truth as he knows
it and his most important job right now is party unification. Says
Rudy Giuliani's speech did a lot of good for rural Republicans as well as
New Yorkers. Talks about Thune/Daschle senate race, saying Thune is
"the best shot we've had in years."
Meanwhile, on the street, the mood in the city was
much more tense than it had been on Sunday and Monday. Reports and
eyewitnesses indicated a much more confrontational attitude from the
police, and some 1,300 arrests were reportedly made. (In a dramatic
contrast, Boston police made a total of four convention-related arrests
during the entire Democratic convention, according to a report broadcast
Marc planned to talk with Charles Shaw, an organizer
with the Green Party, whom we interviewed in Boston, but before they met
up he was arrested and detained for two days at the now-infamous Pier 57
detention center. We hope to talk with him on the air about his
experiences in New York soon.
Marc talked with
Adam Jankowitz of New York City near the northeast corner of Union
Square on Tuesday evening. The scene: probably a few hundred
demonstrators were gathered in Union Square, mostly along Union Square
East, facing a line of police. Across Union Square East, several
hundred protesters who had been arrested were penned in on East 16th
Street and were gradually taken away in buses and police vans. As
Adam described his observations, the police were more confrontational
Tuesday than they were on Sunday and Monday. This was especially
true when there was no visible media presence nearby. He says that
demonstrations were not orchestrated by the Democratic Party, though most
of the protesters will probably vote Democratic. Voting for Kerry;
feels he has a strong environmental record but that he hasn't gone far
enough on the Iraq war or gay marriage.
Wednesday, September 1
Josephine was at the convention. She spoke
Senator and former Senate Majority Leader
Trent Lott (R-Mississippi). He talks about why September 11 is
so important at this convention; links to current terrorism in Russia.
On politicizing September 11: says they cannot have a political
event and ignore 9/11, what we've done about it, and who we want to lead
us in the future. On NYC: we chose NYC and "I'm having a grand
time." Says Cheney is a very strong man on security and defense.
Has known him and his family personally. It's all about setting up
Bush's speech tomorrow. On protesters: has seen several
protesters; no real problems thanks to NY's finest. Did Hardball,
surrounded by protesters, but it worked fine: they've been behaving
themselves pretty well (despite their "Bronx waves").
Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), member of the Agriculture,
Transportation/Infrastructure, and Veterans Affairs Committees.
Says it's a very close election; the convention needs to appeal to
people who don't typically watch conventions. Republicans need to
talk about family "breakfast table" economics and everyday people
problems. Says there's a very partisan division in Congress.
Says politics should be limited to just a few months before the election
and that political rhetoric should be set aside during the year so they
can focus on the job at hand. On the Republican platform support
for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, says the platform means
something to a small number of people; it's important to state core
principles, but the platform is no longer used in the way it used to be.
On a woman's right to choose: Kansas is very conservative on social
issues. Many will be comfortable with pro-life plank.
On protests: all he's seen is great hospitality, warm welcome.
NYC is an easy place to have convention. Cost of health care is a
huge issue in this election; comments on Pfizer's drug card,
legislation, choosing a plan.
Jay Hughes, delegate from Virginia. Decided in 1998 to
stop complaining and get involved in the Republican party.
On what Cheney needs to do in his speech this evening: stick to Bush's
message, secure borders, support freedom and democracy through the
world, turn tables on terrorism, be pro-business, energize the
electorate. On Virginia's economy: large military economy but
wants to encourage private sector companies, keep VA tax friendly.
On NYC: overall experience: fantastic. NYPD: fantastic. "I
haven't encountered one single protester!"
Mr. Hughes's comment about the absence of protesters
was apt. To get close to Madison Square Garden, one needed to be
carrying officially issued convention credentials (mere press ID's didn't
work), and anyone who did not have them was kept a considerable distance
from Madison Square Garden — at least one crosstown block and two
uptown-downtown blocks. Because of this, it was possible for many
delegates and others attending the conventions to arrive on their buses
and avoid contact with protesters, though this was not the experience of
But despite the fact that many conventioneers didn't
see them, there were numerous protests around the city on Wednesday.
Marc covered the March on the Media, which passed by the offices of
several major media corporations (among them, CNN, NBC, and Fox).
There was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the mainstream media in the
crowd, which Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR),
one of the organizers, estimated at about 2,000. (FAIR is the
producer of CounterSpin, the weekly media critique heard on WDFH
Mondays at 1PM and Saturdays at 10AM.) Among the people Marc
Janine Jackson, co-host of CounterSpin. Janine talks
about failure of media to provide responsible coverage of the war in
Iraq and the Bush administration in general. Says news
organizations are being run as businesses; cutbacks are being made in
investigative reporting as budgets are being cut; news media are close
to those in power and that limits the scope of their coverage of the
Mary Titus of New York. Protesting against the media on
two fronts: the lies during the run-up to the war, and missing major
stories. There seems to be a conflict with corporate owners.
Deregulation and consolidation starting in Reagan administration or
possibly earlier is a big cause. Threat to basic rights.
Media have unsavory alliance with corporations that profit by war.
Joan Kaiser. Protesting the media in every way: says they tell
lies; mirror Bush and the administration. They are almost
criminal in their omissions. They have responsibility to the
public and they're ignoring it.
Jeff Greenspan, an artist who worked on a piece called the Bush
Booth, where people can "talk to" President Bush. There's looped
footage of Bush listening. Point is to get people used to the idea
of sending information up the chain rather than being passive receivers
Stephen Bonnett. Says the American media are not exposing what
is being done by the American government and other governments we are
supporting. There are too few voices and too few opportunities to
expand the media to include new voices. A few media corporations
are far too big, limiting access for those who have something to say.
Too difficult to get independent voices that have some sway. One
solution is to expand the newly-created low power FM service. As
for political bias: a liberal bias is in eye of beholder. Thinks
there is a bias against important news. Bias in favor of teaching
people not to think. Media's priorities skewed no matter how you
see political bias.
Elizabeth from NYC. She says media marginalized the
Sunday march; are carrying fluff stories instead of covering sentiment
on the street. Those who claim liberal bias in the media are
Jacqueline James, a probation officer from Detroit. Says
billions are being spent on undeclared war for oil. Also
concerned about education. Doesn't see the supposed turnaround of
the economy: erosion of cities, homelessness, inflation, layoffs,
downsizing, gas prices. Says media represent the corporate state, not
Mary Jacobs of Los Angeles. There are nuclear issues and
the media are covering Michael Jackson instead. Media are
dumbing down America. We need to go back to an earlier time of
real journalism, asking real questions.
Colin Mutchler of Brooklyn, youth media activist involved with
listenup.org. Says new technologies will help youth
media get a stronger foothold in the coming years. Media act in
their corporate self-interest, taking care of their advertisers, not
necessarily acting in the public interest. Mainstream media have
good relationships with people in power and don't want to ask them hard
questions. They want favorable regulatory actions from them.
Dennis Hanratty of the
Progressive News Network, a Westchester-based cable TV public access
programming service. He says that the corporate media regurgitate
the official line; he's outraged by the corporate media's behavior
leading up to the war.
George of New York. Fox News is complicit in presenting
falsified evidence to the public in support of the war.
Media need to be accountable; are currently driven by right wing
A performance artist who calls himself Reverend
Billy led a call-and-response reading of the
first amendment. It was a pretty powerful moment.
Thursday, September 2
The big night of the convention, with President
Bush's speech and the balloons and confetti. At Madison Square
Garden, Josephine spoke with:
Brian E. Dubie, Lieutenant Governor of Vermont. Entered
politics as School Board Chair and has been Lt. Gov. for 18 months.
Hopes to hear Bush offer a solution for health care. Is still a
pilot for American Airlines; a friend was piloting Flight 11 on 9/11.
Just met Rudy Giuliani tonight and has tremendous respect for him.
Says the Vermont Army National Guard is training Afghani soldiers on the
site of a former Al Queda training camp. On abortion and gay
marriage: there's great diversity within the Republican party and the
US. Vermont's compromise was a civil union. As a Catholic,
he considers himself pro-life and pro-women; abortion is a choice of
last resort. On demonstrators: have had some good conversations
with some; very respectful and reasonable, "God love 'em." Loves
NYC. Great to be here on a festive occasion.
Geraldine Sam, first grade teacher and an alternate delegate from
Switched from Democratic to Republican party because the
Republicans are more in tune with African-American interests.
Bush’s speech spoke to what’s happening in
Says we didn’t start this war but we’re going to finish it.
Feels safer because of decisions Bush has made.
Says the protesters inside the convention were a disgrace, and
blames the Democratic party.
Bud Anderson, delegate from
Says he’s a fiscal conservative and also a conservative with
respect to natural resources; anyone who’s concerned about
environmentalism should be a Republican.
Feels sorry for street protesters, who he says tried to be evil
and villainous. Says he
wouldn’t call the Sunday protest very large, and that more people show
up for a
West Virginia possum festival.
Elizabeth Blackney, Media Director for the
Says the convention was a success.
Cheney’s speech knocked it out of the ballpark; Cheney’s only
agenda is to support the president.
Schwartzenegger’s speech was well-received by both moderates and
conservatives. Says the
Republican party platform’s support of the anti-gay marriage amendment
is a “starting point” and other viewpoints are welcome within the
At the studio, host Jared David talked by phone with
former White House spokesman Mike McCurry.
On the protest front, Marc spent the early part of
Thursday evening in Union Square in Manhattan, where a few thousand
demonstrators had gathered. As we have noted, the protests were
vastly underreported in the mainstream media, and when there was reporting
on the protests, it tended to center on specific — and usually
confrontational — events, rather than talking to people and asking them
about their perceptions and ideas. During the roughly six hours he
spent covering the Thursday night protests in Union Square and then on
Eighth Avenue near Madison Square Garden later in the evening, Marc did
not see any other reporters interviewing protesters. The absence of
meaningful coverage of the protests no doubt contributed to a lack of
public understanding about what really happened in New York City that
week, and it underscores the need for grassroots, community-based,
In Union Square, Marc talked with:
Richard Blum of NYC.
Union Square is where he went
after Sept. 11. Feels the
police are suppressing dissent.
Victoria Rawlinson of NYC.
Wants to let Republicans know use of NYC for convention is
inappropriate: politicizing Sept. 11; almost baiting NYC, which is 5-1
don’t want dialogue — pure monologue; they just repeat their rhetoric.
Among issues not being discussed: poverty, unemployment, NAFTA.
The US won't be as good as it can be with Bush in office for four
Brooklyn. Hasn’t been taking part in earlier
demonstrations. Doesn’t want
RNC here because they’re using Sept. 11 for political advantage.
Slightly intimidated by police but would rather see them there
than not. There are some
elements in the police force that might foment unrest, so with lots of
protesters, everyone’s keeping each other in check.
Has been gravitating to protests all week.
Disgusted by RNC being here; shameless exploitation of Sept. 11
first to scare us into war with
Iraq and now to get more
votes. They are being smug
and are full of hubris; we don’t care what you think of us, we’re going
to come here and block up your streets and force confrontation on a city
that generally does not really like, appreciate, or support their
policies. Says dissent is
really important at a time when dissenters are being labeled
unpatriotic. Doesn’t feel
oppressed by police presence; there the possibility for abuse in any
position of authority but they represent a full range of political
opinion and they’re just trying to do their job.
Didn’t know anyone who died in Sept. 11 attacks but will never
forget the smell and the chaos.
The common perception of protests as angry mobs on
the verge of on an out-of-control outbreak of violence didn't reflect the
reality in Union Square on Thursday night. There certainly was anger
— opposition to the president's policies on a wide range of issues; a
feeling of resentment toward the Republicans for having chosen to hold
their convention in New York, a generally progressive city; most
particularly a very strong and widely held feeling of violation over the
exploitation of September 11.
But there was also a feeling of solidarity.
People had gathered and found themselves in an almost entirely likeminded
crowd, and despite the anger there was a sense of joy and even fun in
being together. Parts of Union Square were quiet, with people
gathered in small groups, holding candles and talking. Chants had
been taken up in other areas. Musicians had gathered throughout.
Continuing with conversations and sound gathered in
Gail Drakes from
Brooklyn, a Ph.D. candidate who works for a
social justice nonprofit organization. Suspects
the RNC’s motives because all they do is attack Kerry.
As a historian, sees lots that is factually wrong in what’s being
presented by the convention.
Wanted to believe it when RNC said the convention wasn’t going to
exploit Sept. 11, but after the first night it was hard to believe that;
it’s particularly disrespectful to anyone who suffered a loss on Sept.
11; this was a national tragedy and making it about a particular
political party is just wrong.
Issues she considers important: depth and level of debate;
everything is superficial, sound-bite.
Our unwillingness to really engage the issues explains how
Republicans have come so far.
Media are supposed to call politicians on inaccuracies.
Jenna Orkin of the
Organization. Sept. 11
caused enormous environmental contamination.
Bush is using NYC as a lightning rod for terrorist attacks.
New York is 49th out of 50 states in per capita homeland security
spending; Republicans are using NYC without protecting NYC.
Exploiting Sept. 11 imagery is despicable.
Members of a
Lower East Side musical group. USA
is the only place where thousands of people can protest.
Get out and vote.
And a song — “Nobody for President”
chants: "No more Bush chant"; "The people united will never be
Saxophone player in
Hugo, naturalized citizen.
Objects to Bush’s wholesale destruction of the environment.
Feels the RNC is exploiting Sept. 11.
Feels the media are denying crucial information to the
electorate. Much of the
media belong to companies that profit from the war.
Bloomberg refused right of the people to go to
Central Park; thinks he was hoping for
confrontation. Tried to
“beautify” the city by sweeping the homeless out of view of the
Drumming, southwest corner of
Union Square, Thursday evening.
Sam from the
Carrying sign saying “Condoms Stop AIDS, Bush Stops Condoms.”
Too young to vote but would support Kerry; he’s strongly against
Bush, who makes him ashamed to tell foreigners he’s an American.
Feels that the Republican convention coming to NYC is disgusting.
More drumming and a small band, southwest corner of
Around that time, small groups of people started
drifting over to Eighth Avenue in the upper Twenties to get as close to
Madison Square Garden as they could. There was no massive march;
after what happened on Tuesday — masses of protesters in unpermitted
gatherings were arrested after being gathered in orange plastic police
netting — people just wanted to get to the area near Madison Square Garden
and re-gather. Unpermitted gatherings...another Orwellian concept,
and an indication of the state of civil liberties in 2004 America.
On Eighth Avenue, Marc talked with:
Gary and Glenn of NYC.
Gary says the RNC being in town has left him feeling suffocated.
Has been to some rallies and protests; finds it empowering to be
around likeminded people.
Glenn, from Hell’s Kitchen, is angry about having the RNC in town but is
glad to see everyone uniting in protest.
Thinks Bloomberg’s idea about handing out coupons for “peaceful
protesters” was stupid.
Charles Stimson from the Village.
Feels appalled and threatened with RNC in town.
Will miss the grassroots opposition.
Bloomberg should treat citizens like citizens, not employees; the
“peaceful protester” coupon idea has been largely ignored.
On the police presence: police drove their scooters into the
crowd as a tactic to provoke.
Tonight’s protests is reminiscent of September 11 in
Union Square with candles and
homemade signs and tributes to people lost in September 11 and the war.
Tobias, 17, from NYC. A
leftist who doesn’t trust the Democrats any more than anyone else.
Liked Gephardt in the primaries.
Conventions are an absurd, a disgusting part of capitalism:
they're arrogant, talk the talk and collect money and don’t have any
hard influence on anything.
Thought this protest was impressive — a gathering without any central
organization or leadership.
It would be reasonable to allow this protest to gather closer to
Garden; there are no
Throughout convention week, the
National Lawyer's Guild provided volunteer legal observers who
documented arrests and sought to make sure that protesters' rights were
protected. Wearing bright green hats, the observers seemed
omnipresent and provided an essential service. Marc spoke with two
of them as things were winding down late Thursday night (technically,
between 1:00 and 2:00 AM Friday):
Benjamin Bernard, a student at New York Law School, serving
throughout convention week as a legal observer.
Has seen some good calls and some bad calls by the police.
Thinks that generally the week was a success for both police and
protesters, except for Pier 57 detention center.
Alex, a second year law student, another legal observer.
They had several hours of training for this: what to kind of info
to get when people are arrested, how to not get arrested.
Things were pretty much finished at the Madison
Square Garden by 11PM, but the gathering of protesters continued on Eighth
Avenue for a few more hours. The city had put up metal crowd control
barricades along the sidewalks. The crowd was mostly on the street
itself, and the police were mostly on the sidewalks, behind the
barricades. On the east sidewalk the police seemed at the ready,
standing with feet apart, helmets on, and clubs out. Across the
street on the west sidewalk, they were much more relaxed — no helmets, no
clubs drawn, leaning casually against the metal barriers. In
general, the mood was much more nighttime street fair than protest, with
music and groups of people talking with each other.
By 1:30 AM, most of the crowd had dispersed. A
small group of about 15 young people sat down in a line across Eighth
Avenue, apparently with the intent of provoking arrest. The police
largely ignored them for a while as they worked to re-open Eighth Avenue
to traffic. There were perhaps forty or fifty other people gathered,
including a group of legal observers. At about 2:00, after
some discussion with the police, the protesters, without putting up
resistance, were peacefully arrested. Eighth Avenue was returned to
its usual late-night denizens; the convention was over.