24 arrested during May Day protest in downtown
published 05.02.00 - StarTribune
David Chanen / Star Tribune
A May Day demonstration involving more than 400 people who marched Monday in the streets of downtown Minneapolis ended with 24 arrests.
About 10 more people were arrested later in the day in front of City Hall as they protested the earlier arrests.
But for much of the afternoon, the march was peaceful and law-enforcement officials walked on the sidelines monitoring the crowd. Some officers wore riot gear, but most were dressed in regular uniforms.
"I'm just here because the sun is shining and I have love in my heart," said Brian Carlson of Minneapolis, who was among the marchers.
Many of the demonstrators had joined several hundred people at a rally for the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Local 17 about 11 a.m. at Peavey Plaza at S. 11th St. and Nicollet Mall. Some in the crowd said they were celebrating May Day; others were protesting Sunday's expiration of the union's contract.
The group headed down Marquette Avenue after a stop at the Hilton Minneapolis and Towers. They repeatedly chanted, "Whose street? Our street," as they paraded past the office towers and retail shops over the lunch hour. At intersections, the protesters stopped and intensified their chants.
About 25 people at the front of the parade wore masks. Police blocked marchers from going down Hennepin Avenue. Some demonstrators tried to erect a tepee at 6th St. and Hennepin, but police immediately took down the wood supports, arrested one person and carried the supports away.
The group then dumped several pieces of old furniture in the street near Target Center. People quickly cleaned it up.
Because the group didn't have a parade permit, police guided them down one-way streets to avoid oncoming traffic. The majority of the arrests came at S. 6th St. and 2nd Av. S. near the Pillsbury Center, where protesters attempted to block traffic. There also was a rental truck with amplifying equipment parked in the street. Most were arrested for disorderly conduct, police said.
Several more people were arrested before the demonstration reached Loring Park about 2 p.m. While a group of protesters stood on the edge of the park at W. Grant and Willow sts., several dozen officers and Hennepin County sheriff's deputies with protective helmets and batons lined up and threatened to arrest them if they went into the street.
Police had planned for May Day labor protests, which were taking place around the world, said Inspector Sharon Lubinski, head of the downtown command. More than 120 officers and deputies were involved in policing the demonstration, including Chief Robert Olson.
"Nobody wanted to happen here what happened in Seattle and Washington, D.C.," Lubinski said, referring to recent protests.
At the park, people chanted, performed skits, played with dogs and handed out organic fruit. Some people cheered when the police left about 3 p.m., but most of the people who remained just mingled. One man shouted: "Thanks, everybody, for a nice, peaceful day."
Several people, who didn't want to be identified, said the police acted rough during the arrests and that they didn't need to be around the demonstration at all. About 10 other people protesting the arrests were arrested in front of City Hall about 5 p.m.
Mike Boo, an 18-year-old student at Minneapolis' South High School, felt it was important enough to skip school and support the demonstration.
"The cops weren't protecting anybody today, and they certainly weren't serving anybody," he said. "We just wanted a street party."
-- Staff writers David Shaffer and Peg Meier contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2000 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
May Day demonstrators target capitalism and
published 05.02.00 - StarTribune
LONDON -- Anticapitalist demonstrators clashed with police in central London on May Day, tearing down the golden arches of a McDonald's and defacing the Cenotaph war memorial, Nelson's Column and a statue of Winston Churchill.
In Berlin, a march against "capitalism and imperialism" Monday night erupted in violence in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, a stronghold of leftist activism. More than 100 police officers were injured as they used water cannons, tear gas and nightsticks against a crowd of 10,000. At least three dozen leftists were arrested. May Day protest marchers from a variety of groups move through downtown Portland, Ore., Monday.
There were other demonstrations around the world on a day usually set aside to honor workers.
The rioting in London erupted when a group broke away from a peaceful seed-planting demonstration in front of Parliament. Demonstrators threw stones and other objects near Prime Minister Tony Blair's official residence on Downing Street. The protesters then stormed a nearby McDonald's, breaking windows, tearing down the large "M" sign and distributing food.
The demonstrators daubed antiwar slogans on the Cenotaph war memorial and defaced a statue of Churchill by putting red paint on his mouth to look like blood and spraying a hammer and sickle symbol on his jacket. They also covered the lower part of Nelson's Column, the slender white column that anchors Trafalgar Square, with anarchy symbols and scrawled "Reclaim the Streets 2000" across it.
As darkness began to fall, about 2,000 protesters corralled in the square were allowed to leave, and more violence ensued. They smashed car windows and badly damaged several businesses before being pushed across the Waterloo Bridge to the south bank of the Thames, where authorities again penned them in.
"The people responsible for the damage caused in London today are an absolute disgrace," Blair said. "To deface the Cenotaph and the statue of Winston Churchill is simply beneath contempt. It is only because of the bravery and courage of our war dead that these idiots can live in a free country at all."
Three police officers and nine civilians were taken to the hospital, and nine other police officers suffered minor injuries. Forty-two people were arrested.
In addition to the leftist march in Berlin, about 1,200 neo-Nazis rallied earlier in a depressed eastern neighborhood. The young crowd, many with shaved heads, waved German imperial flags and listened to speeches calling for "Germany for Germans." There was violence, as police kept more than 100 counterdemonstrators separated. More than 100 people from both right-and left-wing groups were detained. Neo-Nazi rallies also were held in other German cities.
In France, about 3,000 members of the far-right National Front party marched to the Paris Opera House behind a woman on horseback dressed as Joan of Arc, whom the anti-immigration party has adopted as its patron saint.
Labor unions and mainstream leftist parties in Europe also used the day to stage peaceful street rallies. Tens of thousands gathered in Madrid, and about 15,000 demonstrated in Istanbul, Turkey.
Russia's May Day celebrations were a shadow of the Soviet-orchestrated extravaganzas of the past. Only about 15,000 people in Moscow joined a non-Communist trade union march.
In South America's largest city, Sao Paulo, Brazil, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to protest low wages and high unemployment. In Quito, Ecuador's capital, about 20,000 people protested the government's plan to adopt the U.S. dollar as the official currency.
© Copyright 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved.