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Saturday's Santa Cruz peace march

marchers take pacific, head for beach flats
feeling sore and worn out after last night’s bikes-not-bombs-inflected critical mass in san francisco (an occurrence that shut down the broadway tunnel as thousands of cyclists engaged in a mile long donut encompassing both sides of the structure), i was sitting quietly and reading a newspaper around 1:30 this afternoon when a mass of marchers swarmed from the clock tower down pacific. as i was to find out later, this was an event orchestrated in part by the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition and was aiming to arrive at beach flats park for a 2:00 pm rally. the affair was apparently a familial one. hundreds of anti-war parents, grandparents, children, and teens filled the sidewalk and spilled into the street to the surprise of well-dressed shoppers bearing confused looks revealing ignorance or denial of the fact that a war is going on, which has polarized the country as passionate, civic-minded people have been taking to the streets by the thousands to express their views. near the intersection of pacific and walnut i saw two “tough looking” young men on neon-colored motorcycles jeer at the marchers. most onlookers, however, either waved in support or stared on blankly.

understandably, many of the marchers (particularly the youth) wanted to bring the march completely into the street, some cautious organizers and monitors reminded people that the marchers did not have a permit and those that choose to step off of the sidewalk into the street risked arrest. many people choose to step off the curb anyway. in reality, i doubt the police were seriously considering arresting anyone in the well-mannered group. one particularly disgusting exception was a motorcycle cop that tried to contain the marchers on the sidewalk and continuously harassed people toward the front of the march. at one point, the rotund officer wearing a thick gray broom-style mustache rammed a teen-age demonstrator in the back of the leg with front wheel of his motorcycle yelling at him to get on the sidewalk. when his mother ( i think) protested the action a short shouting match between her and the cop got underway. “i have your badge number” the woman yelled at him. “ i don’t have a badge number,” he shouted at her as he moved up toward the front of the crowd. i followed him to see if this was the case and though he seemed to be wearing a badge, i could not make out any number. his nameplate was partially obscured but the exposed section read T. E. Bailey. He was riding SCPD motorcycle number 311. others at the march took down his license plate number.

near the end of pacific, police harassment seemed to level off as we were entering a residential neighborhood and the city’s oh-so-important business district was behind us. the march proceeded up front street to the top of beach hill, turning right on second. by the time we reached leibrant and riverside, the police actually had cars blocking traffic at the intersection. the march continued down to beach flats park where a b-b-q sponsored by barrios unidos was underway. uc professor paul ortiz was the first speaker. i believe that the march was scheduled to begin again and continue to the lighthouse at 3:00 pm but i had to leave before that point.

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how awful

Wow, I missed that episode of extremely inappropriate police behavior. Good job for trying to catch it.


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