By Magdalena Parker
Seven o’clock hit and protesters began linking arms,
getting ready to march under the evening sky of Denver. They flooded the
streets outside of Civic Center Park, moving toward the 16th Street
Mall and the Convention Center. Hundreds of police officers were
dressed in riot gear and gas masks. They surrounded the protesters
along 15th Street between Court Street and Cleveland Place.
Reinforcements arrived moments later on horseback and in large armored
According to the Denver Post,
about 100 people were
arrested. The newspaper wrote that a spokeswoman for the
convention’s Joint Information Center, Lynn Kimbrough, said two officers
fired pepper spray after protesters charged the police line and one
officer fired pepper balls.
“Nazis followed orders too!” shouted one man,
as police got into formation along the street.
Yelling could be heard from all sides.
Those who weren’t
in the surrounded group tried to get the police to release the
“Speech is free! Let
It’s unclear why the Denver Police
reacted so strongly.
One onlooker said he was glad the officers were there because he felt the
situation could have easily gotten out of control.
Over an hour later, the blocked-in protesters were
released. Levy Milarn said “They just stood there and glared at us. They
wouldn’t let us out. It was ridiculous.”
A few hours earlier, the scene at Civic
Center Park had
been peaceful. About a hundred young people had gathered, sitting on the grass
and under trees, discussing politics. At one point, the media actually had
outnumbered the demonstrators.