Denver's Million Mask March: An Anonymous Account
Last night the hive came alive in the heart of Downtown Denver, filling the streets with noise and clamor like Denver has not seen in too long. While the Million Mask March had been promoted with requests of silence, good behavior and compliance, the crowd of three hundred plus seemed to have other ideas and so did the cops. The mob left Marvin Booker Plaza at the fall of darkness to show the world what never forgive or forget actually means (hint to other anons, it's not hugging cops). We zig-zagged through the central business district and the 16th Street Mall, encountering a poorly prepared but aggressive and well armed police force trying to force our noise onto the sidewalk by charging our numbers with motorcycles and vehicles. It didn't work. We stood our ground from beginning to end, and a cop car or two even got walked on.
About half an hour in, around when all transit on the 16th Street Mall was closed by the city to combat the march, and the pedestrian mall was being cordoned off by SWAT teams, DPD saw an opportunity to grab a few people at the back of the crowd. We continued marching even as our brutal escort continued to grow and escalate its tactics. We were resolute in the face of constant attempts to push us onto the sidewalk, and several failed attempts at snatch and grabs of specific protesters. We didn't have to be told to look out for each other. We knew it was the only way
When the zig-zagging started to get boring, we made our way to the City and County Building, rushing up to the front doors with scores to settle. It was here that more arrests were made, though the police were only able to grab a small number of those they had hoped to. As soon as the attack began, dozens of us made our way to the cops fighting to get our masked comrades free, and after the cops realized we would not make this easy, they retreated with a couple hostages behind heavy SWAT lines. The confrontation also left the cars containing results for the day's election unable to pull into the building on time, sabotaging the arithmetic of control for a short time, and the City Hall was left vandalized as we moved on to our final destination.
We finally marched across Civic Center to pay the Colorado State Capital a visit. Geared up State Troopers watched the mob through thick glass doors, silent still and outnumbered. After a long session of yelling and pounding at the doors, we decided our work was done.
Six people were arrested, though all are reportedly released by now. It was exciting to see a large angry and seemingly new crowd take the streets with a fearless attitude towards the thugs of the state. In Denver there have been a couple occasions in the last year that marches have started off with legalistic language and sidewalk strategies and made the leap into the streets and into a more complete rejection of the existing order. But aside from this being bigger, louder and bolder there's another key difference. Most of these other marches that made the leap still started with viewpoints that had a seat at the table of political debate, and drew plenty of respectable, middle class progressives and civil libertarians that the state hesitates to apply force to if it can be avoided. This march happened at dark and was overwhelmingly masked, poor, demandless and pissed off, so a lot of the protection that earlier marches enjoyed was not here. The police response was more violent then usual, but we were defiant enough to match it. The only security we had was in each other, our courage and our actions and it served us in a way that public opinion never could. Though the mess left over from the way we spent last night may be swept up already, we found boldness and solidarity in one another and that is not so easily erased or destroyed.