Protesters: To the streets In numbers much lower than expected, convention protesters rally, march
By Karen Auge
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 08/24/2008 11:44:36 PM MDT
Maybe it was too hot Sunday afternoon, or maybe they hadn't gotten warmed up yet, but the tens of thousands of demonstrators that protest organizers promised would march through Denver turned out to be tens of hundreds.
Demonstrations began early Sunday and kept up a steady beat of marching, sign waving — and tying up downtown traffic. But through most of it, protesters were vastly outnumbered by police and, occasionally, even by those who came downtown just to watch the spectacle.
Lt. Ron Saunier, a Denver Police Department spokesman, said the number of protesters that actually showed up was nowhere near what groups had told city officials to expect.
Recreate 68 had projected that as many as 25,000 or even 50,000 people
would participate in activities this week. Instead, a group estimated by police at 1,000 to 1,200 participated in a Recreate 68 anti-war march Sunday morning, with a much smaller group parading up Colfax Avenue later in the day.
Tent State University, which had promised its own throngs, had its afternoon parade disrupted when attendees ran into a competing parade by anarchists. The biggest draw for Tent State turned out to be a signup for free tickets to see the band Rage Against the Machine on Wednesday at the Coliseum. When the signup ended for the night, the crowd at City of Cuernavaca Park dispersed.
Recreate 68 organizer Mark Cohen said he wasn't discouraged by Sunday's turnout. "You always wish for more numbers, but more important than turnout was the lineup of speakers we had, which was great."
There was a moment of tension, when police ordered protesters to get off Broadway about 3 p.m. But after police made one arrest for an unspecified offense, the demonstrators moved into Lincoln Park and traffic was flowing again.
After the morning parade of 1,000 or so people from Civic Center to the Pepsi Center, Recreate 68 demonstrators briefly blocked access to the convention site. The group dispersed peacefully when ordered by police.
Glenn Spagnuolo, a co-founder of Re-create 68, said he had been pleased by the way police responded to the protesters.