The Denver Doo-Doo Accord

8 Aug

Via the Denver Post:

The Denver City Council on Monday approved a new ordinance aimed at preventing protesters from carrying buckets of feces or material that could form street barricades, paying little heed to a treaty that protest groups signed and labeled the “doo-doo accord,” reports Christopher Osher.

Three protest groups – Re-create 68, Unconventional Action and Tent State University – had signed the treaty, which called for “a moratorium on the public throwing, spraying, smearing, hosing or inducing of excrement” during the Democratic National Convention.

The protesters labeled the ordinance, which Denver police pushed, as overkill and an insult against those who they said simply want to exercise their First Amendment speech rights.

But Safety Manager Al LaCabe warned that in the past some violent protesters have used tactics designed to create havoc and pointed to the rioting that broke out in 1999 in Seattle against the World Trade Organization as an example.

“This is not make-believe,” said LaCabe, stressing that police would have to show that people intended to use the banned material for disruptions before arrests could be made.  

The council passed the ordinance on a 12-0 vote. Councilman Michael Hancock was absent.

The new ordinance bars protesters from possessing noxious substances, which could be used to make feces or urine bombs.

Police also could use the new ordinance to make arrests if authorities believe protesters plan to use chains, locks and pipes to form barricades.

“I personally choose to be optimistic, and I choose to believe that everyone wants to have peaceful demonstrations,” Councilwoman Carla Madison said. “I can be optimistic, and you can be optimistic. But it’s not the job of the police to be optimistic.”

Brian Vicente, a lawyer for the People’s Law Project, which plans to provide legal representation for those who protest during the DNC at the end of the month, argued that the broad nature of the ordinance could put bicyclists at risk for using bike locks. He stressed the decision on whether to make an arrest would be left to police, some of whom he feared could become overzealous.

He also stressed that the ordinance was permanent and would remain enforceable after the convention.

Tom Mestnik, a member of Re-create 68, mocked the ordinance, displaying pictures of other items he facetiously said the council should ban, including Viking attack boats and hot air balloons, from which protesters could drop pink attack rabbits.

He concluded by showing the last fantastical item he said the council should ban: Harry Potter’s wand.

“It could turn police into toads and turn all of the City Council into toads,” he said. “But, of course, no one would notice.”

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One Response to “The Denver Doo-Doo Accord”

  1. Anne August 8, 2008 at 7:23 pm #

    Have you guys seen this? http://silenced.weebly.com/

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