Monday, August 25, 2008

Freedom Cage

You can't get there from here...

Denver - My first task today was to locate the DNC approved "free speech" zone, a 47,000-square foot zone of parking lot A, enclosed with a double row of 10 foot metal barricades some 300 yards from the Democratic convention, out of site and definitely not on the minds of the Democratic delegates.
I set out from the Civic Center bus station and took the free and usually frequent shuttles up the 16th Street mall to Market Street. It's one thing to encounter the ubiquitous Starbucks or McDonald's. But I didn't expect to run into Wackenhut, the same private security firm that patrols PDX and even provided security at Obama's huge Waterfront rally.

For the credentialed, it was just a few block's walk to the gates separating the insiders from the outcasts. I made it only so far until I was directed to the freedom cage. How to get there? A long... walk.

The security zone walling in the DNC encompassed several blocks to the south of the Pepsi Center. I tried to continue my quest with public transportation (rumor had it that the cage was best accessible from the the commuter train stop at Invesco field. But as it turned out, only Convention goers were allowed so far. All others were kicked off stops farther away.

In the end I didn't make it. Today, the Democratic establishment won out. Free speech was essentially thwarted.

As convention begins, no protesters in 'Freedom Cage'
Nick Juliano
Published: Monday August 25, 2008

DENVER -- Fears of confrontation between police and protesters outside the Democratic National Convention seem to have been overblown. As Democrats gathered for their convention's first night at the Pepsi Center, there were no protesters to be seen in the fenced in free speech zone a few hundred yards away. [More...]

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