Greeley Gazette reporter, Craig Masters, found coverage of the protest in Denver Saturday evening to be more personal than usual. Police moved to clear the intersection of Broadway and 14th streets using batons to persuade the defiant protestors to return to the sidewalk. Masters and his wife were momentarily caught up in the melee shortly after Masters snapped a photo of protestors sitting in the street.
At the time the police decided to clear the intersection, a group that had decided to sit down in the street was attracting nearly a hundred others who seemed to be more interested in taunting the officers than dismantling the Federal Reserve Board. It took only a few minutes to return the crowd to the sidewalk as police first closed ranks and then pushed forward. The unusual aspect of this particular action was that officers moved on the crowd without an announcement or even verbal orders from most officers as they began moving on the crowd. This was why even Gazette reporter Masters was surprised by a quick blow to the shoulder from a riot-clad highway patrol officer.
The Saturday afternoon protest crowd was much smaller than the would-be revolutionaries had hoped. However, the comically unfocused messages from the New York campers seem to be finding some filters. While there were the expected few signs with vulgarities aimed at government and bankers and corporations, the major focus of this day’s protestors was concern about growing corruption in the federal government.
An Iraqi war veteran, Valentino Sandoval, one of the very few protesters who would speak for the record, said he was there “for all the veterans” who he felt were fighting “over there” for freedoms they were losing at home. When asked for a specific issue he felt most strongly about, Sandoval mentioned the lack of dental benefits for the vets.
A former economics student from UNC, who is now a software sales consultant with ties to Israeli businesses, was beginning to explain he had come to draw attention to corruption of the Obama administration and the current U.S. policy toward Israel when a nearby unidentified person interrupted. The intruder’s complaint was something incoherent about surf lessons at a San Diego university being paid for by the government. Another from the now gathering group corrected the San Diego comment by explaining UCSD was a state school so the government wasn’t paying for the surf lessons there!
More than a dozen masked protesters were asked to comment, but not a single one would reveal their face for a photo or allow their name to be used. The consensus was clear, however, that these Occupy rallies were only the beginning of the revolution by the self-proclaimed 99% of the world destined to “clean up” a corrupt American government by exposing “bought and paid for politicians.” This message may surprise both sides of the aisles in Washington.
The question that went unanswered was; who did these folks expect to emerge from their revolution as the leader of the rebuilt America?