Monday, September 03, 2007

Outside agitators!

On Friday night, a riot broke out:

Police arrested 19 bicyclists, including three juveniles, after a protest ride took an ugly turn in downtown Minneapolis Friday night.

Were the protesters lashing out against the war in Iraq, Spotty?

Well, grasshopper, it looks like they were more upset about the over-reliance of our society on automobiles, with maybe an anti-war patina, so to speak:

About 200 bicyclists were riding on La Salle Avenue, with two officers monitoring the protest that called for reduced reliance on automobile transportation. The ride was also linked with weekend protests of next year's Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities.

According to the Srib article, linked above, the police tried to arrest a bicyclist who the police said was "trying to provoke them."

Provoke? That could be anything from yelling, "Flatfoot get a bike!" to far more aggressive and dangerous things. Spot hopes that, in the fullness of time, we will find out. In any event, provoked or not, and whether justified or not, when the cops made the arrest, a crowd gathered around:

"When the officer went to arrest him, his buddy came up, and they started to struggle with the officer," Przynski said.

A group surrounded the officers, and begin to chant "Let them go!"Then several people tried to prevent the officers from arresting these individuals," she said, and a skirmish ensued.

Soon, the two officers were surrounded by about 30 people, and they issued the call "officer needs help."

That brought 48 officers from six different law enforcement agencies racing to the scene, where the situation escalated and the officers used chemical Mace in an attempt to control the crowd, Przynski said.

Police then called in medics to examine people who were sprayed. Some officers had minor injuries, such as scrapes, but nobody was seriously injured, said Przynski, the night watch commander.

Interfering with the police when they are arresting some one is a really bad idea, boys and girls. You see, the cops are the ones that we put out there to be in charge of the streets. When they make an arrest, they are already in a heightened emotional state. They are going to take anything that looks like inference very seriously. Especially if they are outnumbered, which in a crowd setting is always.

Spotty says keep your camera video phone at the ready and be suspicious of agents provocateurs who seem to want to be part of your group, but will not identify themselves. But please don't make a tense situation worse.

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