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Thursday, September 02, 2004

AThe New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Tactics by Police Mute the Protesters, and Their Messages

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Tactics by Police Mute the Protesters, and Their Messages: "September 2, 2004
Tactics by Police Mute the Protesters, and Their Messages
By MICHAEL SLACKMAN and DIANE CARDWELL

As the Republican National Convention approached its final evening tonight, nearly 1,800 protesters had been arrested on the streets, two-thirds of them on Tuesday night alone. But for all the anger of the demonstrations, they have barely interrupted the convention narrative, and have drawn relatively little national news coverage.
Using large orange nets to divide and conquer, and a near-zero tolerance policy for activities that even suggest the prospect of disorder, the New York Police Department has developed what amounts to a pre-emptive strike policy, cutting off demonstrations before they grow large enough, loud enough, or unruly enough to affect the convention.
The demonstrations, too, have thus far been more restrained than many recent protests elsewhere; five years ago in Seattle, for example, there was widespread arson and window-smashing, none of which has occurred here. Lacking bloody scenes of billy-club-wielding police or billowing clouds of tear gas, the cameras - and the public's attention - have focused elsewhere.
'It is almost easier to explain what you are not getting here,' said Ted Koppel, anchor and managing editor of ABC's 'Nightline,' when he was asked why news organizations have given little time to the protests. 'What you are not getting here is a replay of 1968 in Chicago.'"

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