Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The RNC vs. protesters

Salon is featuring this article titled "New York lockdown" about the planned and unplanned protests for the Republican National Convention later this month, and what the city plans to do about them. I'm not too worried about terrorists that week, but after reading this I'm more concerned that protesters are going to do something stupid that provokes a rash reaction from the police. I had hoped to avoid all of the mishegoss of the convention, since I live on the Upper East Side and commute to work on the Lexington Avenue subway line. But some of the protesters plan to go where the police aren't and disrupt things. I can just see me walking several blocks out of my way because some idiots have chained themselves together across lower Broadway, blocking my access to my office. City Hall is just a few blocks north of my office; I'm sure there will be a protest presence there at some point. Don't get me wrong: I don't disagree with these protesters or their right to express themselves, but I'd prefer it if they kept themselves and their expressions out of my neighborhood.

Actually, the most disturbing part of the article is right here:

This terrifies Bush opponents, who worry that violence on the streets of New York will help the Republicans by making them look like Middle American moderates besieged by nutty radicals. They note that the Chicago '68 debacle helped cement Richard Nixon's reputation as the law-and-order candidate.

One of the organizers thinks that ordinary New Yorkers will see the protests and join in. I can guarantee that I won't be among them. I stood on the fringe of the anti-war protest in Washington Square Park in March 2003 and had zero desire to get any closer. When i saw police in riot gear run past I went straight home until the whole thing was over. If the convention week is anything like that anti-war protest, it actually won't be that bad -- there were only a few arrests in an otherwise peaceful crowd. Unfortunately, based on this article and some other things I've read and heard, I think the outrage at the Bush administration is at such a high level that this time protests will be long, loud, and combative.

No comments: