Skip to comments.[NY] City on Alert for Days of Rage [Peaceful Moslems Listed]
Posted on 01/27/2002 5:01:08 AM PST by NativeNewYorker
hen thousands rally in New York this week against the World Economic Forum, socially conscious activists will be among them as well as, police say, hardened radicals and advocates of violent confrontation.
With labor unionists, students, environmentalists, civil rights activists and all manner of self-proclaimed anarchists meeting in midtown, police are preparing for street dramas that may range from puppetry and tango-dancing to vandalism and service disruptions.
|Angry hipsters protest the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.|
"Many, many thousands, perhaps even more than that, are coming from practically every state," said Larry Holmes, a spokesman for ANSWER, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.
"I think the protest is going to be good for the city; it will be energetic, safe, peaceful. ... People will have the opportunity to revive the worldwide movement for social and economic justice. And we're following the advice of all those who say to get back to normal what's more normal for New York than to have a protest?"
But police are concerned the peaceful demonstrators will be overrun.
"Some well-meaning student will get caught in the middle if a violent protester starts breaking windows and the cops move in to arrest him," said one police official.
Police have been gathering intelligence on potentially violent groups and assigning each a threat level.
They are groups that have clashed with police at other economic summits, including the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999 and the Group of Eight Summit in Genoa, Italy, in July, in which a protester was killed by police.
One demonstration tactic labeled a serious threat, known as the "Black Bloc," is in vogue with anarchist groups. Demonstrators wear black clothing and bandannas over their faces, and wield pipes, bottles and Molotov cocktails.
Black Bloc proponents boast on Web sites of causing disruptions at various corporate headquarters. Two weeks ago in York, Pa., anti-racists using Black Bloc techniques fought neo-Nazis in the streets during an appearance by Matthew Hale, leader of the white-supremacist World Church of the Creator.
While more mainstream activists were painting banners and organizing transportation and housing for participants in anti-World Economic Forum protests, police have spotted other protesters surveying the site of the conference, scoping out the entrances and taking photographs, sources said.
|Looking rather WWF, crowds protest the WEF in Australia on September 10, 2001.|
Militant groups planning direct action may lock arms to form a blockade, chain themselves together, soil themselves and damage property, police said.
Police might enforce an 1845 law that prohibits people from wearing masks in street gatherings, except for masquerades, to counter large gatherings of Black Bloc advocates, sources said.
The World Economic Forum, an organization of business moguls, academic experts and political, media and science leaders, agreed to hold its summit here in a show of support for the city after the Sept. 11 attacks, and to pour money into the economy via restaurants, shops and entertainment.
Already benefitting from the conference are private security firms, whose advice and bodyguards forum participants have sought for navigating the city.
At its usual summit location Davos, in the Swiss Alps participants were shielded from the angry slogans of globalization foes.
But starting Thursday and continuing until the summit ends the following Monday, anti-globalists from around the country and Europe are expected to converge near the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, the posh, old-money base for the 1,800 forum delegates and their staff and about 20 heads of state as they discuss "A Vision for a Shared Future," with international security part of the discourse.
The protesters see the forum as a capitalist display of excess at a time when the events of Sept. 11 have led to war and economic woes.
And they are mindful that New Yorkers are still fragile.
"We know what the atmosphere is since Sept. 11," said Eric Laursen, a member of Another World Is Possible, a New-York based umbrella organization of anti-war, anti-corporate globalization student groups.
"Our thrust is positive to have street theater and music in an effort to show people what a better world it could be."
Holmes added: "Nothing is going to happen to upset the people. ... No one's coming here to do damage to persons or property."
|Cops may have to contend with violent radicals like this protester in Quebec City.|
But the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, whose motto is "Make Resistance Visible," is using the city's firefighters' scuffle with police in November to suggest that it's time for the return of direct action in New York.
Anti-Capitalist Convergence flyers against the World Economic Forum show angry men in fire helmets and turnout coats.
"They're misrepresenting what we did that day," said Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, whose members clashed with cops when the fire officers tried to hold a rally at Ground Zero to protest the city's cutback of recovery workers. "They're trying to say we proved civil disobedience works. ... It bothers me, because our issue was about dignity for human remains. It was not about being against the police."
In the NYPD already exhausted from the twin towers tragedy, the crash of Flight 587 in the Rockaways, anthrax scares and maintaining the highest level of alert for possible terror acts there are varying opinions on what may happen during the forum meeting.
"Some people think it could be a rough couple of days," said one official.
It could be a major public relations issue for Mayor Bloomberg, himself a forum delegate, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who has made the conference a priority until Feb. 5. The event also is the new administration's first test of maintaining order.
So police have been preparing.
About 3,500 cops have been assigned to the forum, including rooftop snipers, plainclothes cops and officers from aviation, mounted, canine, bomb squad and emergency service units. There will be cops at the city airports to make sure there are no disruptions, and extra vigilance on the subways.
The jail system is preparing to process hundreds of arrests. High-ranking cops were sent to Seattle, Genoa and other cities where large-scale demonstrations turned violent. A major drill was conducted at Shea Stadium, and smaller drills have been conducted several times a week.
"There is a concern that the area of demonstrations may spread from midtown Manhattan," said Kelly, "so we are taking a lot of precaution, doing a lot of planning." The protesters are getting ready, too.
Workshops are being held on the legal rights of demonstrators, and street medic treatment for tear gas and pepper spray. The Anti-Capitalist Convergence was offering role-playing where participants play cops, protesters and medics.
"Police are preparing as if the Mongol hordes are coming," said Laursen. "In Seattle and Genoa, by far, the overwhelming amount of violence was done by the police. There was brutality, not against the so-called Black Bloc [demonstrators] but against peaceful protesters doing Ghandian methods."
Holmes said, "If the police are not heavy-handed, and do not provoke, we have no doubt these events will come off very successfully."
Many groups have been working with the police over the last few weeks, negotiating for their own forums.
John Sweeney, AFLCIO president, will attend the forum.
"We are not there to protest, but to rally to present the working person's side," said Ferranti.
But police will have to scramble when delegates visit the New York Stock Exchange or Ground Zero.
Kelly said forum attendees will be accommodated "to a reasonable degree."
"It's a good event for the city," he said. "The city administration is happy they're here. It puts some pressures and strains on the Police Department, but that's why we exist."
Said Holmes,"The players on both sides have a lot of experience they know how to do it."
Some Groups Listed as Opposed
To the World Economic Forum
American Muslims for Peace & Justice
American Socialist Foundation
Animal Defense League (Long Island)
Anti-Capitalist Convergence (Philippines)
Anti-WEF Coordination Salzburg (Austria)
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Block by Block (Harlem)
California Prison Focus
Campaign for Labor Rights
Center for the Comparative Study of Law and Society
Climate Action NOW! (Redway, Calif.)
Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (N.Y.C.)
College Voice for Free Tuition and Open Admissions
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
Critical Resistance East
Cuba Advocate Newsletter
Cuve Collective (Belgium)
Filipino Workers' Center
First Quarter Storm Movement (Northern California)
Food Not Bombs (Hoboken, N.J.)
Free CUNY Global Pastry Uprising
Green Party U.S.A.
Industrial Workers of the World (N.Y.C.)
International Socialist Organization
Jews Against the Occupation
Kensington Welfare Rights Union
Les Ami de la WEF (Switzerland)
Make the Road by Walking (Brooklyn)
Mexico Solidarity Network
Middle East Children's Alliance
National Lawyers Guild
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
Pastors for Peace
Raise the Fist
Reclaim the Streets
Refuse and Resist
Roundhouse Collective (Baltimore)
School of the Americas Watch
Socialist Party of New York City
Solidarity Student Committee Against Labor Exploitation
Students for Global Justice (New York)
Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement TransgenderWarrior.org
Union of New York Free Youth
Veterans for Peace
Women's Action for New Directions
Workers Democracy Network
Zapatista Block Collective
Bump? We can only hope.
I'd like to too, if I lived there.
Just Be careful! Moronic freaks pissing off cops could be recipe for disaster.
"American Muslims for Peace & Justice" besides likely being a contradiction in terms, does not show up on a google search -- is this an ad hoc made-up-for-the-event organization? I wouldn't assume anything from that like you are assuming. Especially as an association with other commie groups supposedly for "peace & justice" signals an ongoing extreme leftist bent.
Most of us have faced off with these people before. On this occasion we will have to be a little more wary.
the fbi raided them this week.