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I woke up this morning still not having finished writing up the story from the big sunday protest. I spent the morning working on that. Later I decided to head down to the Garden during the morning session of the first day of the convention to see if any demonstrating was going on. I ran into to protestors on the elevator who were wearing Yellow shits with anti Bush/republican slogasn written on them. They told me that there was going to be another protest today down by Union Square, the end point of the big march on Sunday, and that there would also be something going on at the UN that they did not have a permit for. My plan was to walk over to the Garden (about a mile and half from the hotel) And then maybe head over to Union Square. When I got over to 7th Avenue and 35th St. I saw that the security was getting heavier. First of all The Police were using a retractable plastic fence to stop people from crossing the street, until they were ready to let them. They had a guy who would slide the fence across, and wait until there were many many people waiting, then when he got the all clear he would open the fence and let them go. It reminded me of a scene from the movie The Pianast, where the Nazis were doing the same thing, they would fence in the people trying to cross the street, and make them wait there a while until they finally let opened up the gates and let them out.
I waited with the rest of the crowd to cross and when they finally opened the gate, a cop who was watching everyone go by saw my Protest button from UPJ that I was wearing from the day before and grabbed me. "Excuse me but do you have any ID to be in this area" he asked me. "Do I need any?" I asked I was informed that without proper clearance to be in that area that I would have to turn around and go back the other way, even though there was a hotel right there, and one that I considered staying at. I stepped back and watched as another non republican looking guy tried to cross. This same cop grabbed this guy by the arm and pushed him back on the sidewalk, the guy stated asking in a loud voice "Why are you grabbing me" and asking the cop to take his hands off him The cop looked like he was getting upset, and I thought a fight was about to break out, this cop was a real asshole.
After a few tense moments the situation seemed to calm down and the guy who was trying to cross finally left. The cops were trying to only let the delegates cross. You could tell them by thier cheap suits, and midwestern bowl hair cuts. Some of them had several different IDs around thier necks and looked like CIA operatives like this guy
Now I had no real reason to get to the other side of those gates, but I hate it when Cops try to stop me from doing what I want, especially on the public streets so I decided that I was going to find a way to get around to the other side. I made a left and went up the street which was all gated up on both sides, about half way up the street I found an opening in the gate and slipped through. I got across to the other side of the street through another opening and headed back down to the corner where I was now on the opposite side. They also had that corner blocked off, so I cut inside the hotel A guy at the hotel informed me that I would not be allowed in unless I had a room key. Since I already knew they had available rooms I told him that I was there to go get a room, and he let me right through. Now I was in the middle of Republican delegate territory, they were all over the place. I was wishing that I had my suit on so I could try to rub elbows with these guys and try to get myself invited to a party or something where I could go undercover and infiltrate the scene. But I was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and besides I still had to complete my mission of circumventing the police road block. I found my way back to the front of the hotel which was on the opposite side where the police were stopping everyone from going through. Once I got there I saw all the Republicans heading across the street and into the entrance to the convention. Now trying to get through that would really be tough. After a while I decided to head over to Union Square to check out the protest that I had heard about, but I must have missed it becuase when I got there all I saw was a bunch of people in the park eating their lunch.
Later that night I went back to the Garden again, but the scene was quiet. Mostly there were a bunch of guys around like this one.
Today (tuesday) promises to be much more eventful. Unfortunately this is probably my last day in NYC, this is an expensive town, and I am running out of cash. I am about to check out of my Hotel, and leave my high speed modem. I may have to do todays update tomorrow when I get home.
Ok I'll report back tomorrow with all the civil disobedience action that is planned for today. Hopefully I dont get arrested