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Disappointing Protesters


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Denver residents are getting a taste of big-city living, complete with gridlock traffic, busy pedestrian crossings and hordes of police officers looking over it all.

What the city is lacking, however, seems to be the raucous organized protest promised to us by many groups in the months and weeks prior to the start of the convention. Yes, I heard about last night’s clash that sent 90 or so to jail. There was tear gas. The most generous estimates had no more than 600 protesters marching toward the Denver City and County Building.

University of Colorado students are wilder on a typical Friday night.

Arrests certainly are not the benchmark of a good protest. But passion seems to be in short supply as well as organization from all groups except the Pro Lifers. Today, a few hundred random protesters, if you can call them that, mingled on the green of Civic Center Park.

I’ve seen coffee meetings offer more debate.

Some talked politics, some wearing “Cop Watch” vests seemed to be taunting police by filming their every move, some just sat in circles.

Minus the police presence, this could have been any other sunny afternoon in Denver.

About the only group that had any organization at the park where a dozen or so young Republicans sporting McCain for President paraphernalia. They took up a corner of the park, peacefully trying to drum up support for their guy.

Frankly, I put some of this on the folks who drew up the game plan for hosting this convention. The perimeter is unbelievable.

And not in a good way.

Getting into the Pepsi Center is as easy as entering a military base with a Cuban passport. Protesters are so far from the delegates and politicians, they have a better chance of getting a response via email.

It takes 30 minutes or so to walk around the Pepsi Center just to get to security.

Talk about feeling alienated. Speaking with other journalists much more veteran than myself, few, if any, seem to remember a convention so far away from the hubbub of the city.

There’s a division between the voters and the folks lucky enough to get credentials into the convention.

NOTES: My new favorite political T-shirt is being sold on the 16th Street Mall is a simple black T with this message: “A Black Man is Running…And Not From the Police.” If you have a pass inside and you want to give it up, there’s a group of 20-somethings who traveled all the way from Virginia to get in. They are dancing for passes.

—Jacob Harkins, Yellow Scene Magazine editor

More DNC coverage here.

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