The DNC protests kicked off in Denver this weekend on a light-hearted note. First up: the Yippies, wielding inflatable baseball bats with stickers saying “Make Fun, Not War.” The event took place at a convenience store near the Pepsi Center. Someone called police when they saw members of the group clubbing each other with their “peace bats.” The police officer who responded was offered a “peace bat” as a souvenir. He declined, saying departmental policy prohibited him from accepting gifts. Oddly, the officer said he had never heard of “yippies.” I wonder how the Denver Police Department is training officers in the art of responding to convention disturbances without reviewing events that occurred in Chicago in 1968. The Yippies, members of the Youth International Party founded by counter-culture leaders Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, were front and center.
On a related note, famed ’68 protester Tom Hayden provides his recollections of the Chicago protests for the Rocky Mountain News and predicts Denver won’t be anything like it. He warns Denver officials not to fall for what he calls the hype of the FBI.
I think that Denver officials would be well-advised not to believe everything that the FBI warns them about,” Hayden says. “That’s how things can get out of hand, due to fabricated, exaggerated projections about violence or protest.”