What is Permitted

I’m extremely tired, it’s been a long day of too much sun, too many police. There is still a constant hum of helicopters flying overhead, uninterrupted since yesterday. Today was the large rally and march sponsored by the AFL-CIO and a huge list of labor and human rights groups. It was a “permitted” event, all the proper paperwork was filled out and permission granted by the proper authorities. Before and after this march took place there were several other “unpermitted” protest actions, the largest taking place this morning when I did my first shift as a legal observer.

I was threatened with arrest this morning while I was trying to document some arrests taking place, 2 protesters had been wrestled to the ground, one had blood dripping from his head. I was trying to get information on who the protesters were, what they were being charged with, etc. when a man wearing a plaid shirt with a United Students Against Sweatshops button yelled at me to get the hell out of the way. At first glance I thought he might be one of the many USAS allies in organized labor, perhaps just being overprotective and trying to keep more protesters from getting arrested. I was quite wrong. I tried to explain I was a legal observer, and trying to see what was happening to the people getting arrested, but before I could even finish my sentence he was screaming at me to get the hell out of the way or he would arrest me. Yep, an undercover cop. I backed up, and on second glance felt incredibly naive for ever thinking he could be anything other than law enforcement. I was told a bit later from another legal observer in the area that this same “protester” was seen breaking signs and props, perhaps in an attempt to make it look as if protesters were instigating violence.

Police lie and commit crimes, and it is permitted.

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