Why did the city police attack the pro-Peace group at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade?

The city police and parade organizers did not fully think out the consequences of their actions, but the attack on the peace group at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was not unintentional. In fact, it followed logically from the political direction given by the Colorado Springs city council and mayor.

The city police are employees under the control of the city council and mayor, and it is the city police on behalf of the city government itself, that gives out John O’Donnell his own permit each year to hold a parade. In all effects, John O’Donnell is merely a sub contractor for the city who is given a permit to issue yet even more permits, that simply allow and disallow who amongst the general public can participate in a city sponsored parade each year.

John O’Donnell has a long history of operating city promoted events in our city, and most of them have a highly charged social message of support for the wars waged by the US government. He takes positions on social issues, and they are almost always relatively in support of war, and many events he has helped organize have been fully funded by the city of Colorado Springs city government. Though some have only been partially underwritten.

In fact, less than 3 years ago, John O’Donnell, the city government, and the US military (US government) used large amounts of city and federal tax moneys to parade troops through Colorado Springs streets in support of the Republican Administration led US invasion and occupation of Iraq. They called this ‘supporting the troops’, and called the parade a ‘Welcome Back Home’ rally. Of course, we now know that the troops have been redeployed over and over from Fort Carson, and the public has slipped dramatically in its support of this US government war making. At that time, nobody appeared too much concerned to see the city government and federal government working through O’Donnell to parade for a partisan cause.

Because the city government and John O’Donnell are so intertwined in supporting the partisan cause of celebrating the constant US government wars and aggressions that destroy other nations, it is no surprise that the city police acted to thump peace partisans for entering into the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. It was a natural reflex on their part, and to their credit, at least they did not get so totally out of hand and severely injure anybody they manhandled. That is the reason that the new police chief, Richard Myers can posture that ‘nobody got hurt’.

However, the city government and its police do hurt others when they take up partisan causes like supporting a US government war, and make no mistake about it, that is what they have been constantly doing. Driving down Cascade Ave. one sees the city tax money’s paid-for signs that say ‘Colorado Springs Supports the Troops’. Hint, hint… That means that the city government is supporting the Iraqi War. How clever the city government thinks it is to phrase their support for the Iraqi War in this manner.

In short, the city has a history of taking up the ‘social issue’ of supporting the US war on Iraq and uses the tax monies of all its citizens to do so. The annual military air shows each year are yet more ways that the city government uses tax monies and facilities to sponsor pro-war Pentagon fed propaganda. And through this steady city support of military aggression, now 7 people face criminal charges coming from a police action that could easily have led to no arrests, no threats, and no physical take-downs if the police had only had directions to use restraint, instead of heavy force.

To the city police, it seems natural to stop pro-peace participants from participating in city events. They have received no city government direction to do otherwise, and Mayor Lionel Rivera’s continued refusal to admit that the several police ambushes on us through the years have been totally totally uncalled for, only will lead to repeats of the same excessive use of police force in the months and years ahead. Too, he has repeatedly shown so far that the city government will refuse to accept that it has real bias in what events are allowed to parade through city streets. The bias is in favor of the military and war, and against peace advocacy by any public pro-peace assembly that would appear against war. The police are directed in their activities with this bias in effect no matter how much they might state that they are out there to protect us all. It will surprise no one that the police actually protect some more than others, and endanger many.

It is highly symbolic that John O’Donnell and the police decided to use the intersection of St Vrain and Tejon to have the police ambush us on St Patrick’s Day. This is the same intersection where the city and federal governments had him lead off the ‘Welcome Home Troops’ pro-war parade in June, 2004. They marched the troops with our tax monies around in a circle and then ended their pro-war demo at the same point. They had no problem with pushing social causes at that event at all. They do have a problem with us when we cross that fatal intersection calling for PEACE instead.

Mayor Lionel Rivera and his city police will do what they can do to try to stop us from participating in future city organized events. As it has been said already, we got roughed up for the message we carried, and not just for how we went about bringing it to the public. They will try to deny us the use of the public streets again unless policies are changed now.

The police and the mayor have refused to accept any blame for what was done St Patrick’s Day. To the credit of some of the city council members, others have done the opposite. Our thanks goes out to them for that.

We do want to work together with all to assure that all do have a way for public assembly without censure. Let the military march with kids in their camouflage khaki uniforms on, and let those that have the opposite message march alongside. The city belongs to both of our groups, and both of our groups pay tax dollars to open up city streets for public parades, and to close it off for other tax paying citizens who might even be against what the parades might seem to them to be about. After all, we don’t want the type of sectarian violence that the US military now has brought to the Iraqi people inside America itself. Do we? So city government needs to stop bias in what social causes it funds and endorses.

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