Hundreds Clash with Police outside the Democratic conventiongreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Hundreds Clash with Police Outside Convention
By Carter Yang
L O S A N G E L E S, Aug. 14 Hundreds of protesters dressed in black and wearing handkerchiefs over their mouths, clashed with police tonight after a concert by rock band Rage Against the Machine outside the Democratic convention.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, then charged on horseback to disperse the crowd. At least four people were reported injured in the melee and police made at least two arrests.
As the crowd started to leave after the concert, people in the protest area picked up chunks of dirt and threw them over a fence at police. Some protesters outside the Staples Center started small fires and fueled them with their protest signs and banners. Some demonstrators danced around the flames.
Officers responded by firing pepper spray from paintball guns to force the crowd away from the convention center.
Theyre shooting at us! yelled one of the protesters in a crowd of people frantically moving about.
Something Had to be Done
The chaos began after the concert-going crowd grew unruly, throwing bottles, scaling fences outside the convention and taunting officers trying to maintain calm. In the middle of the rock concert, police turned off the electricity to the stage and ordered concertgoers to leave.
There started to be glass bottles that were broken, said LAPD Capt. Stuart Maislin. At that point, something had to be done to disperse that crowd. The scene was in stark contrast to what was happening almost simultaneously inside the Staples Center, as President Clinton took a long walk to the main podium to deliver his prime-time speech. As police ordered the crowd to disperse, hundreds outside the center frantically searched for a way out of the crowd.
At least one person was struck by rubber bullets fired by police and collapsed.
They started shooting rubber bullets at people, said Brian Marsh, 29, one of the concertgoers. A couple of broken bottles is not worth the lives of the thousands of kids who were there. Police said the confrontation involved about 300 people out of the crowd of 8,000.
Stinging Nostrils, Gas Masks
Pepper spray burned concertgoers nostrils and throats with a horseradish-like sensation. Police wearing gas masks moved the crowd out on foot to the far reaches of the protest area.
They came in with tear gas, they came in with rubber bullets, shooting at us, said Paul Belosic, 26, of Los Angeles. There was no where to go here. Everything was blocked off. It was chaos.
The confrontation happened beneath a huge TV screen outside the Staples Center showing live video of the speeches inside. As police moved protesters out of the area, the rowdy crowd spilled onto Olympic Boulevard near the convention site.
Rage Against The Machine, known for its hard-driving sound, is anti-authoritarian, fiercely committed to leftist politics and has campaigned in support of such figures as Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter on death row for killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.
The concert lasted about an hour, capping a day of protests that were largely peaceful.
Arrests Earlier Monday
Earlier Monday, police confronted demonstrators upset by Vice President Al Gores ties to Occidental Petroleum Corp. Nine people were arrested for failure to disperse.
The group stopped at a busy intersection about six blocks from the Staples Center convention hall. Police warned them to leave and then, minutes later, charged with batons and pushed back about 200 protesters. About 400 others watched from up the street.
This is what a police state looks like! a protester shouted at the police.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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