July 15, 2008

Denver Considers Protest Tool Ban For DNC

"Diversity of tactics" meet Denver City Council's newest proposed ordinance (curiously prepared back in April):
The prospect of protesters linking themselves with devices that bolt cutters can't sever or throwing buckets of feces on police has Denver considering putting a new law on the books before the Democratic National Convention.

Demonstrators would be banned from having items such as chains, quick-setting cement, homemade locking devices that are resistant to bolt cutters and "any noxious substance," City Council members said Monday.

"Protesters are getting pretty sophisticated," said Councilman Doug Linkhart, chairman of the council's safety committee.

"In other cities, they're not just handcuffing themselves to each other," he said. "They put their handcuffs inside PVC tubes, which are inside concrete. They've figured out ways that keep the police from just using bolt cutters to cut them apart. They also use buckets of urine and feces and various noxious substances to pour on themselves or the police."

Denver's proposed ordinance would make it illegal to carry any "tool, object, instrument or other article" that can be used to obstruct streets, sidewalks and entry or exits from buildings or for hindering emergency equipment.

"We're just trying to very narrowly define an area where, if they have these kinds of tools and we can prove intent, then we can arrest them," Linkhart said.
Recreate WTO '99! Urine, feces, noxious substances, oh my!

The broad definition will most likely make the new ordinance "more restrictive" than the one passed last month by Arapahoe County. More ACLU challenges, Glenn Spagnuolo quotes, and moonbat shrieking (and hilarity) to ensue:
Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz, another safety committee member, said Denver's proposal is "more restrictive" than an ordinance approved by Arapahoe County, where some of the convention delegates will be staying.

Last month, Arapahoe County commissioners passed an ordinance that makes it unlawful for demonstrators to carry shafts, rods, projectile launchers and other potential weapons at picket lines and other public assemblies.

While the Arapahoe County ordinance deals with specific weapons, Denver's focuses on tools that could impede police.

The ban in Arapahoe County also includes gas masks.

Linkhart said Denver police wanted to include gas masks and bulletproof vests in the list of banned items, but council members saw those more as items for personal protection than something that could be used for disruptive purposes.

Linkhart has requested a public hearing on the proposed law, which would stay on the city's books after the convention Aug. 25-28.

A special safety committee meeting has been scheduled for July 23.
And will be well attended by the tinfoil/R68! alliance. The new ordinance, if passed, would also likely face testing at the annual Columbus Day Parade protestpalooza in addition to the proceedings at the DNC.

This appears to be a direct response to the indirect "diversity of tactics" mentioned repeatedly across the various sites of the protest groups planning activities at the DNC--vaguely defined, these "tactics" are intended to halt proceedings and impede the delegates, as well as bog traffic down and tie up police forces. The availability of tools making it more difficult to break up a group of determined protestors will only exacerbate the problem, lengthen delays, and create more opportunity for confrontation. Even with arms linked, protestors at the last Columbus Day caused delays of over an hour, and this action was limited to one street corner, a few hundred protestors, one parade, and a quiet Saturday morning. Anything but the type of conditions that will be presented at the DNC.

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