Freedom Folks

Monday, July 10, 2006

Paul Revere Ride/Minuteman Protest in Chicago

Jake and I pulled up near the Mexican Consulate in Chicago on Saturday morning to find one other Minuteman already there. We came early to stake out our spot to protest in front of the consulate, having notified the police in advance that we would be there.

Across the street, 10-12 counter protesters (note: some of the same ones who harassed me the day before) hung out. Shortly after we arrived, they started to cross the street toward us. Jake went to the corner and called to them, suggesting that they stay on a different corner, as the police were only going to separate us when they got there. You probably already guessed they they kept on coming.

Jake had the videocamera out, and the counter protesters -- most of them masked -- waved their hands in front of it to block his view. One guy on a bicycle grabbed the camera and shoved it into Jake's face, then continued gripping it while they faced off. I got a few still shots of to come soon.

At this point a police officer came to intervene. He immediately instructed them to remove their masks, which they refused to do. They complained that we were taking pictures, and he informed them that we had every right to do so. He called for backup as more of our opposition showed up to join their buddies.

With just one cop there, they surrounded the three of us, circling, shouting, cursing at us, yelling through bullhorns. Even after more cops arrived it continued for some time, before they finally moved us apart. The police at first attempted to give the area in front of the consulate to the goons, and have the Minutemen move around the corner. I objected, pointing out that we were there first and had extended the courtesy of giving the police advance notice. Both groups were eventually permitted to remain on the main street, divided by the portion of sidewalk in front of the consulate entrance.

More people continued to arrive for both sides. It must have looked like two groups of circling sharks from the street, as we were instructed to keep moving to comply with Chicago law -- we couldn't just stand still on the sidewalk and hold up our signs.

The highlight for us was when the 21st Century Paul Revere riders roared down Ashland Avenue to join us. Led by Frosty and Howard Wooldridge, they joined the Minutemen on the sidewalk, beating pavement with us as Frosty spoke on a bullhorn of his own. It was wonderful and encouraging to come together with this group of patriots to join forces in fighting this invasion of illegal immigrants sweeping through our nation. Thanks to Frosty and his crew!

The other side, of course, continued to chant and jeer at us. God, I love this country. I love the fact that we can all get out their and make our voices heard. That we are neither prohibited nor prevented from doing so by our government. That the cops were vigilant that day...

and arrested the counter protester who flattened one of our tires.

The bulk of the Minutemen were already gone, and the goons had moved off down the sidewalk when we got back to our car.

"This your car?" a cop called out to us as we approached, moving aside to reveal the deflated tire.

We barely had time to take it in before he informed us that they had caught the guy who did it -- he was in the back of a squad car -- and asked if we wanted to press charges. I'm sure you can imagine just how long we didn't have to think about the answer to that one!

Given that the counter protesters were so eager to not have their identities revealed on camera, I'm guessing that the little weasel wasn't too happy about the fact that the Chicago Tribune published his info in a story the next day.

Aaaaaaaawwww. I'm crushed. No, really.

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Minutemen * Chicago * Paul Revere Riders * Illegal Immigration * Frosty Wooldridge



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