Ferguson Files: Friday Night on the Frontlines

FACTS FOR FRIDAY:  President Obama and Michael Brown’s father both pleaded for peaceful protesting.  Attorney General Eric Holder instructed the police to use restraint when dealing with protestors.

For myself, tonight was a bit of a treat.  No more long distance, I got to go and drop off the medkits stocked by my friends in the SP-USA to the people who’ve been on the ground since day one.  I didn’t drop stuff to “fully funded” types, I took them to people I know and trust in the community of NSTL and North St. Louis County.  We did miss one thing, hand warmers, so holler in comments if you want to send some.

It was rather sparse when the candlelight vigil started about 8pm, but more and more folks showed up as time passed.  By 8:30pm, there were at least 100 people and they decided to march.  They know I’m “too old and gimpy” to march, so I hung back and sent the younger Legal Observer off with them.  Uneventful march.  The police came out when everyone was back and made “the announcement” that they make all the time.  “This is the Ferguson PD, if you are in the street, blocking traffic or attempt to jump over the barricades, you are subject to arrest.”    A bit later, everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE left for the burned out QT, aka Ground Zero.  I’d just made sure that every single person was gone, started to drive to GZ and got a call to turn around and go back.  Man, were the cops mad!  Seems it took them 30 minutes to tweak to the fact that folks went elsewhere and when those folks heard that the cops were on their way…….they jumped in their cars etc. and scattered throughout the area and rendezvous back at the PD!   I guess it put them in a bit of a mood as the helicopter went up, some folks in Anon masks went into the street, 5 minutes later, about 100 cops came out of the FIRE DEPARTMENT, rushed the crowd and scooped up the guys who’d been in the street.  Yeah, spotted and ID’d on video from the chopper and they were pulled right off the sidewalk because they “had” broken the law, not that they WERE breaking the law.  What a farce of a force.

The joy for me was getting to see my old friends and get lots of hugs.  Though my lack of cocoa was noted, especially when the sleet started.  I am encouraging all protestors to get a really good umbrella, like a golf umbrella type, to be used as the suffragettes did in their day.  Our foremothers knew that an umbrella is a club, a shield, an instant tent and a hook to pull someone out of the way of harm.  Think on it sisters…….they knew what they were facing.

From the massive Federal Dept. of Homeland Security  and FBI build up, we are all looking at federal charges if it goes all catty wampus over there. As a legal observer, my job is to inform people of their rights and then, I have to stand and witness the choices they and the police make.  It’s very hard.  Tonight, when I had to leave, there were only 4 arrests.  I keep trying to tell folks they will be needed on “that day” when a bill of indictment is or is not returned, but patience is not a virtue of youth.  I was able to get some of the press from telling folks “come over here (just happened to be in the street) and we’ll do an interview”.  I love press, we need them, but seriously…….sheesh!  Between police baiting the people and the press wanting a story or picture of something “happening”.  It is happening, it’s been happening and it will go on happening.  We need to keep as many folks OUT of jail as we can so we have people on the line when it does go crazy.

Day 105-106 and if one more person asks me why we are still protesting, I may come unglued.  Please look at history.  How long was Nelson Mandela in jail?  How long was the Montgomery bus boycott?  How long after Stonewall were rights granted (somewhat, still working on it) to the LGBTQ community?  How many years was Gandhi walking across India?  Well, these folks are prepared for the Long Haul, and they want to see REAL change before they even think about stopping.

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