[sixties-l] Fwd: DNC Demonstrators in Training

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Thu Jul 20 2000 - 20:58:40 CUT

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    >July 18, 2000
    >DNC Demonstrators in Training
    >By The Associated Press
    >MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -- Atop the Santa Monica Mountains, demonstrators bound
    >for the Democratic National Convention next month are learning how to be
    >like Superman.
    >They're practicing ways to scale tall buildings to hang massive protest
    >banners, linking arms to form nearly unbreakable human blockades and
    >learning how to move faster than a speeding tear gas canister.
    >The Berkeley-based Ruckus Society is hosting a training camp this week to
    >teach activists elaborate civil disobedience tactics for the demonstrations
    >planned outside the Aug. 14-17 convention in downtown Los Angeles.
    >``We're taking protests to the very edge,'' said John Quigley, 39, as he
    >pointed to demonstrators hanging a banner from a six-story scaffold on
    >Monday. ``We want people to wonder, 'Why are those people risking their
    >lives to do this?'''
    >Nearly 150 activists gathered for the six-day camp at a mountain ranch
    >overlooking the Pacific Ocean, sleeping in clusters of tents along the
    >bluff and dining in a makeshift kitchen under a stand of elm trees beside a
    >small lagoon.
    >The participants are members of various activist groups, including
    >environmentalists, anarchists and feminists. Many are veterans of massive
    >protests last fall and early this year that disrupted global trade and
    >banking meetings in Seattle and Washington.
    >Ruckus organizers said they hope to inspire similar high-profile
    >demonstrations while avoiding the violence that tainted those gatherings.
    >In addition to lessons about colorful acts of civil disobedience, the camp
    >teaches activists safety procedures for rowdy protests and methods of
    >calming members of a crowd who start rioting.
    >``We show people how to de-escalate violence. We don't want people to get
    >hurt,'' said Ruckus trainer Lynn Stone, 34, of San Francisco. ``We also say
    >that property destruction is virtually useless in a mass-protest. ... It
    >needlessly puts a lot of people at risk.''
    >On the first day, participants attend outdoor classes about nonviolent
    >protests, focusing on the actions of civil rights leaders such as the Rev.
    >Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.
    >The camp teaches other safety tips for use during tense protests, such as
    >using a handkerchief smeared with toothpaste as an impromptu gas mask.
    >``The minty smell helps counteract the tear gas,'' Stone said.
    >And when police in riot gear move on a crowd, Stone added, demonstrators
    >are told to simply sit on the ground and turn their backs to the officers.
    >``Showing someone your back is an act of trust,'' she said. ``When we did
    >it to the police in Seattle, it showed we weren't threatening and the
    >officers seemed to relax.''
    >Shannon Wright, another Ruckus organizer, said the protesters have decided
    >to converge on the Democratic National Convention because they feel
    >citizens have lost control of the U.S. political system.
    >``The Democrats are the same as Republicans anymore, and the presidential
    >candidates are like Coke and Pepsi,'' Wright said. ``We're calling for a
    >Ruckus participants plan to stage blockades on downtown streets, linking
    >arms through large plastic pipes to form nearly impenetrable human chains.
    >They also intend to drape buildings with billboard-sized banners emblazoned
    >with messages aimed at convention delegates.
    >On the Web:
    >The Ruckus Society: http://www.ruckus.org
    >Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company

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