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A Story About A Demonstration I Was In

Published:

Last Edited: February 15, 2008, 1:13 am

When I was in college the Viet Nam War was raging. I was vehemently opposed to it just as I am vehemently opposed to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. The polls in 1971 were very similar to today's polls on Iraq. 70% of the people wanted us out of Viet Nam. In those days people used their right to petition the government. I was proud to be one of those people.

I participated in a demonstration in Washington in protest of that war. Here is a short (and very accurate) account of it:


Protest - 'Stop the Government'

On April 24, 1971, more than 500,000 demonstrators arrived in Washington DC. They intended to shut down the federal government by stopping the flow of traffic into the city on May Day.

Police agents had infiltrated the demonstrators and obtained their 'tactical manual' for the action.

A retired police officer who was on duty that day recalls:

    They looked at all of the major access routes coming into the District from Maryland and Virginia, and they made assignments to demonstrators where they could go to block the streets. They were going to come out in waves, so that when the first wave got arrested, the second wave would fill the streets and then a third wave and so on. They had done a pretty good job.

    A lot of them came down because they felt very strongly about what they were doing, and a lot of them came for adventure. And adventure meant confrontation.

As a result of the careful planning and disciplined response by the Washington DC Police Force, the city stayed open. Between 3 May and 5 May, about 12,000 protesters were arrested, including ex-Marine Daniel Ellsberg. The Washington DC Police set a United States record for the largest number of people arrested in one city over the course of a single day. Just six years previously, 12,000 would have been considered an unexpectedly large total turnout for an anti-war rally.

( http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A715051 )


                            *****


The demonstration never really happened. The D.C. Police and Federal Marshals attacked the demonstrators before they reached their staging areas. I was walking down a sidewalk in a residential area with two friends when two cops jumped off their motorcycles and started chasing us. One of them stopped me with a police baton to my knee. He then threw me on the back of a car, continued beating me with his stick, and was swearing at me. I was then handcuffed with those plastic tie cuffs and led to a street corner where others were sitting in handcuffs with guards watching over them, batons at the ready. We were later picked up by bus and taken to a big gymnasium. About 500 of us spent three days in there cramped like sardines and fed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and OJ, courtesy of the US Marshals. Mind you, I was only walking down the street at the time of my "kidnapping", I was not committing a crime of any sort. I was never arrested or charged with anything. I was placed in a detention center without habeas corpus for three days.

When I got out I was pissed as hell about the "police state" I had encountered. As I was wandering D.C. trying to find the house I was staying at, I went by the Capitol building and there were some protesters sitting on the steps. I joined them. We were arrested (peacefully this time). I was taken to the DC central lockup and put in a four-man cell with 11 other guys and one-inch long roaches. We had to take turns sitting and stretching out to sleep on the concrete floor. I was in there 48 hours and then had to appear before a "tribunal" of FBI types who asked me a whole lot of questions.   After that they took me to a crowded courtroom with many others like myself who had been arrested for peaceful demonstration. I forget what I was charged with but received a five-year suspended sentence and I am never to enter Washington D.C. for the rest of my life.

The five day experience left me very shaken. I was, and am fearful of them and recognize the power and control they have at their fingertips.

This happened in 1971. The post 9/11 laws are much vaguer then they were in '71 and can include anyone doing anything.

When I post about police state and martial law, I am not doing it as some kind of conspiracy nut and I don't care to be treated like one. I've had a "scared straight" taste of it and believe me you wouldn't like it. My point in posting about these subjects is simple: The police assault, kidnapping and detention was illegal in 1971. Now it is legal with the laws passed since 9/11. I am NOT a terrorist and 99.9% of you aren't either so why are we sitting on our asses letting them treat us like terrorists???

 

Entry #141

Comments

1.
four4meComment by four4me - February 15, 2008, 2:58 am
I was stationed at Ft. George G Meade at the time our company Co told us to gear up for the demonstration. I spoke up for some of our group saying that some of us were from Maryland, Dc, PA and Virginia not to include other nearby states and would probably be facing some of our friends from these places and they would probably be at this demonstration. How were we supposed to handle that if we had to whack some poor kid up side the head or shoot em if need be.

I explained that even though we were regular army i/we didn't want to be cough up in another Kent State type scandal. He said he would consider excusing us. About a half an hour later he formed the group again and excused all soldiers who were from the surrounding areas.

Upon his return he summarily Article 15ed court marshaled every one of us that didn't join the group in defending our capital.

While they were gone though we did get to eat lots of good food from the mess hall as there wasn't anyone there to stop of from raiding the food lockers.

Believe this if they had wanted to they could have made Tiananmen Square look like a picnic hundreds even thousands could have been killed. DC has lots of arsenal to protect it's buildings
2.
Comment by pacattack05 - February 15, 2008, 4:30 am
Like you daid and I said in my blogs, people will demand this under the guise of protection from the bad guys.

My roomate's grand parents were here at the house visiting him, and the subject of eavesdropping came on the news. I asked them what they thought about it and they said that they wanted the law renewed. The protect american act that is. Then it reminded me of what you were saying about how the people will demand it, and are so ignorant about the whole thing.

This is why people will sit on their asses and do nothing. They want this crap. Then when the feds break down their doors because of some stupid reason, they'll wake up from dream land and hopefully realize how idiotic they were for believing this nonsense. By then it'll be too late.
Oh well, nobody ever learns from history I guess, except for the few who listen to their inner voice which tells them something is wrong.
3.
jarasanComment by jarasan - February 15, 2008, 9:46 am
500,000 unarmed. I was there also. Those tactics have been used repeatedly since then and very effective against unarmed, unorganized people. Unarmed citizens might as well be sheep. Tear gas was the weapon of choice mostly in '71. United we stand divided we fall.
4.
time*treatComment by time*treat - February 15, 2008, 1:14 pm
Rick, you are on the same page as the older people who have lived history, and the younger people who have studied it and can recognize a pattern. If a person has a bad job, they may leave (or retaliate). Some people will even hang on to a bad relationship. A bad gov't is even harder to escape from, so people are less willing to accept that theirs would mistreat them. That's for people 'over there' in the 3rd world or behind the iron curtain or 'bad people' who *must have done something*. Some are comfortable right now and will fight you all the way until they get a taste of what they're being warned about. People who got hurt in the dot com crash, earlier laughed at those who said stocks were in a bubble. Same with the real estate bubble.
Keep putting the info out there, some lucky person may look back in 5 years and be glad they came across one of your entries.
5.
Rick GComment by Rick G - February 15, 2008, 1:32 pm
Thank you, time*treat. Responses like yours keep me motivated to continue the effort.

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