If you get arrested protesting at the Democratic National Convention in August, have no fear, the DNC People's Law Project will have your back.
The People's Law Project will provide pro-bono attorneys to help jailed protesters during the convention. The group will also staff a hotline where protesters can call for help and will field teams of neutral legal observers who will attend rallies and videotape protesters' interaction with police.
60 lawyers willing to volunteer their services met at the University of Denver today for a training session on how to defend arrested protesters. Mayor John Hickenlooper has said the police have undergone training to help diffuse violence. Denver civil rights attorney David Lane, speaking at today's session, said police reaction to the protesters is key.
"If police are ill-trained and ill-led, '68 may very well be recreated in Denver," Lane said referring to riots during the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.
The protest groups insist they are non-violent.
"We are completely peaceful," said Rob Weiland, a 37-year-old courier from Denver and member of the group We Are Change Colorado. "We follow the ideals of Ghandi."
The protest groups are also conducting training classes:
The Alliance for Real Democracy, a coalition of 18 groups, is planning a week of classes in City Park on topics such as non violence and how to organize a demonstration. A concert with Denver band the Flobots also is in the works.
While the groups aren't looking for trouble from police, they will be prepared to expose any misconduct by videotaping confrontations and putting them on You Tube for the world to see, free of editing by the mainstream media. According to the article, one group that is ready for some headlines is Unconventional Action.
Its approach is one of direct action, such as blocking access to corporate-funded parties or blocking delegates from leaving their hotels to go to the convention and vote.
If you'd like to follow the plans of the protest groups, here's the news page for Unconventional Action. Also check out DNC Disruptions, "online clearinghouse for radical and progressive groups organizing against the Democratic National Convention " and ReCreate 68, which has this advice for out of town protesters:
Saturday, August 23 - When you arrive in Denver, find your way to Lincoln Park in front of the State Capitol for the sharing of important information. We will be presenting trainings and knowledge shares on logistics of Denver and the DNC, "Know Your Rights" trainings, Legal Observer trainings, non-technical blockade trainings, self-defense trainings and more that will help you throughout the week.