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Police and Protesters Meet Over DNC Convention Plans

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Denver is making an attempt to work out arrangements with protest groups for the Democratic National Convention.

[T] he City Council next week will consider a proclamation prepared by the group – dubbed Re-create ’68 – that restates Denver’s commitment to protecting First Amendment rights during the event….The group aims to demand a change from the country’s two-party system by making the violence-marred Democratic convention of 1968 “look like a small get together in 2008!” according to its website.

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….”I do have to give credit to the city of Denver,” Spagnuolo said. “They were very welcoming and open to listening to our concerns.”

City Councilwoman Kathleen Mac Kenzie will submit this proposal to the City Council on June 11:

The proclamation asks that the city “welcomes demonstrators with the same respect and honor accorded to convention delegates” and that “use of force, including the use of horses, pepper spray or other aggressive means to police public demonstrations, is restricted except to the minimal extent required by legitimate law-enforcement purposes.”

One big issue will be whether fenced cages are used to contain the protestors, as they were in Boston in 2004.

At their first meeting with Denver city officials and police, Re-create ’68 organizers and attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild said they asked that such fencing not be used in Denver.

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I hope the city finds an alternative to the cages. It was like being at the zoo. I’m wary of new surveillance techniques that might be used. In Boston, once the police got the new powers, they didn’t give them back when the convention was over.

No one wants a re-creation of the violence that marred the Chicago convention in 1968. Hopefully, good planning and respect for the protesters’ first amendment rights to peacefully assemble and protest will avoid those mistakes.

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