Protesters: We're being treated like prisoners
Denver (AP) — A small group of protesters marched to the demonstration zone outside the Democratic National Convention, complaining they are being treated like political prisoners. Members of the protest group Recreate 68 Alliance visited the fenced-off zone for the first time on Monday and vowed not to return because they oppose the limits on where they can demonstrate.
Protesters derisively call the 47,000-square-foot zone the "Freedom Cage." It's separated from the parking lot around the convention hall by metal fences atop concrete barriers, about 700 feet from the Pepsi Center, where the delegates start gathering Monday night.
"We're being treated by the city of Denver and the Secret Service like political prisoners, like pariahs," said Recreate 68 organizer Mark Cohen.
Cohen and his wife, Barbara, each wore a red inverted triangle similar to the type political prisoners in Nazi Germany were forced to wear.
"We're going to stay here for just a couple of minutes to state our disgust with this abomination, the way the city and Secret Service are tearing the Constitution of the United States to shreds and then we will leave," Mark Cohen said.
Another protester, Holly Heiman, 40, of Green Mountain Falls, said she wanted to show her opposition to what she believes is an oppressive government that won't change no matter who is elected.
Elsewhere, about 100 people rallied at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver to draw attention to people they consider to be political prisoners in the U.S., including American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who's serving a life sentence for killing two FBI agents during a 1975 standoff on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
The turnout for protest marches was lower than expected, however, and that led authorities to reopen some Denver traffic lanes sooner than planned on the first day of the Democratic National Convention. About 12 blocks along two busy streets reopened at around noon on Monday (local time), instead of 3 p.m. as planned. Authorities say they could remain open for the duration of the convention if marches can be accommodated safely.
The Joint Information Center, an emergency-response command set up by the city for the convention, cites "low attendance and parade participation" for the change.