Monday, May 21, 2012

Marathon Pundit unhurt after being crushed by occupiers and police gauntlet after anti-NATO march (Pics and video)

Anarchists challenging police
Sometimes citizens journalists can get too close to the action. Such was the case with this blogger yesterday afternoon in Chicago.

I marched the entire length of the anti-NATO march. Marching were occupiers, communists, socialists, and anarchists. With the far-left, it's hard to tell where one group ends and where another begins.

The march--conducted under brutally hot conditions--ended at Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue. There was an hour worth of speeches which I didn't care to listen to--and I promised Teri O'Brien that I would offer a rundown on the protest for her BlogTalkRadio show. I chose a quiet alley for that phone call to "the Conservative Warrior Princess."

After I gave O'Brien my report I noticed a ruckus at Cermak and Michigan, where the march ended. Of course I went to find out what was going on. Black bloc anarchists, about 200 of them, refused to leave. They wanted to march to McCormick Place--where the actual summit was being held.

As you will seen in my video, some of the anarchists threw water bottles at the cops. And not all of the protesters were anarchists. There's an IWW flag flying--which stands for Industrial Workers of the World--a socialist union known as the Wobblies. But as I explained earlier, the boundaries of these groups are blurry.

I witnessed three men with head wounds. I don't know how they were injured. One is in the second segment of the video--occupiers are crying out, "We need a medic!"

After I recorded these video clips, the police pushed back against the black bloc. Between them and I were less radical occupiers--behind me were metal police barricades and bicycles. The cops pushed--but there was nowhere for us to go but down. I landed partially on a bike--the rest of me was pinned against a barricade. On top of me were occupiers--mercifully they were young and not heavy. One of my elbows was dug into a woman's back. Another man yelled out, "Somebody's got a knee grinding into me." That was my knee--and I couldn't move it away. Sorry about that, if you happen to be reading this post.

After the crush
I was on the bottom of the pile for about thirty seconds--but of course it seemed as if it was a much longer time. What was I thinking about? The fatal 1979 Who concert asphyxiation deaths. But the bodies did not continue to pile up. On the left you'll see two bikes--one of them was "mine" for that unpleasant moment. Pictured on the lower right is a makeshift medic area--but I believe those being treated were head wound victims. As for the others who got crushed, I don't think anybody was seriously hurt. In regards to myself, I expect to awaken with a bruise on my right thigh--which will be the shape of a barricade bar. I'm icing that spot now.

In the area near me there were about five people pinned against the barricades--and there were probably at least five more--but I wasn't in the mood to conduct a hasty census or to solicit interviews.

A few minutes afterwards I telephoned a fellow conservative blogger and told him about my nasty experience. He asked, "Did you get video?" Not of me getting crushed. Sometimes journalism has to take a back seat to other needs.

Makeshift medic area
While my feelings about the Occupy movement and their allies are clearly known if you are a regular reader of this blog--I oppose nearly everything they stand for--I have to blame the police this incident. If cops are going line up in a gauntlet and push them back--they need to make sure that there is space for them to be pushed back. I am generally very supportive of the police--after all, they put their lives on the line every day they arrive for work and the cops have been working under extremely stressful conditions for almost a week because of the anti-NATO protests. Still, something went terribly wrong here.

However, I made a error too--a boneheaded one. I managed to find trouble to report on--but I neglected to remember to look for an escape from that trouble when I approached the black bloc scrum. I learned a lesson--but fortunately it is one that was not dearly bought.

When I returned home last night, Mrs. Marathon Pundit asked if I was glad that I covered this event. Yes, I am.

As for the occupiers, the anarchists and their fellow travelers, I have some advice for them. It's time to end the protests--they are accomplishing nothing worthwhile. A Republican senator supposedly offered this suggestion in regards to our involvement in the Vietnam War: "Declare victory and get out." It's time for this movement to do the same.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that an undetermined number of protesters were arrested and that seven demonstrators were treated at Mercy Hospital. I am sure more information will be available later today.

UPDATE May 24: A number of readers have inquired about my physical condition over the last few days. "Unhurt" may have been slightly inaccurate description-- but I wrote this post after midnight eight hours after being inadvertently "occupied" by the occupiers. In addition to my thigh bruise, which is the size of my fist, I have smaller bruises--all on my right side, including ones on my shoulder, upper arm, and hip bone. But these will heal shortly. And I ran today--a slow four miles.

The Chicago Sun-Times must have had reporters near where I fell--their report is the best I've read of the mainstream media articles about this nearly tragic story.

Earlier posts:

Photos and video: Meaningless anti-NATO Rahm march, with Code Pink and graffiti
NSFW Video: Occupy Chicago anti-NATO 'F' bomb chants
Video: Occupier destroys huge NATO banner
Photo: Ayers and Dohrn at anti-NATO rally
"First Amendment is our permit" occupiers hold Stop Rush Limbaugh march
Video: Chicago 'F' the Police march--working class gives anarchists hostile reception

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the risk to cover this.

Genevieve said...

I thank God you weren't badly hurt.

Cao said...

I was thinking about these people the other day. They scare me. I've seen where little old ladies get attacked, even with small children nearby. They are getting more and more violent; and the cops don't seem to know what to do about it.