- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2000

PHILADELPHIA Activists said they had no definite plans for further disruptions of the Republican National Convention here, a day after police jailed about 250 of the most violent and hard-core protesters.

"Most of our voices are now in jail," said Amy Kwasnicki, spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Direct Action Group (PDAG), when asked if any members of the dwindling crowd of demonstrators would risk arrest by acts of civil disobedience.

Several other spokesmen for protest groups said they knew of no other plans for direct action civil disobedience tactics such as the use of human barricades across intersections on Tuesday but warned that autonomous "affinity groups" could attempt more such actions.

Police expressed cautious optimism that disruptions were over because the most troublesome protesters were in custody.

"I think we disorganized them," First Deputy Commissioner Silvester Johnson said. "We didn't see any anarchists here this afternoon."

As about 150 protesters meandered around a park across from the jail where many of their comrades are being detained, rumors circulated that roving bands of the anarchist "Black Bloc" group would cause trouble in the city late yesterday. Police remained ready for any trouble.

"We're prepared for any situation that can happen in Philadelphia," First Deputy Commissioner Johnson said. "We anticipate the unexpected. We're prepared for anything they do citywide."

Police officials yesterday released details of damages and injuries sustained during hours of standoffs and skirmishes with protesters who blocked several intersections on Tuesday.

Police said 15 officers were injured, three seriously: one suffered a concussion when a protester hit him on the head with a police bike; one had a broken arm; and another had a severe cut, either on his hand or throat.

Vandals damaged at least 23 police cars and slashed 140 tires on city vehicles, police said.

Activists denied that anyone in their groups committed violence against police, and instead said they had proof "on videotape of police brutality" and "agent provocateurs," or undercover agents who tried to incite protesters, Miss Kwasnicki said.

The headline in a newspaper published by the demonstrators' media center was typical of the sentiment: "Free speech falls victim to police crackdown."

Miss Kwasnicki complained that police targeted key leaders of the protests and preemptively arrested them, but did not provide details, and she implied that justified violence against officers.

"[Tuesday] was not a day of nonviolent direct action, as we had planned for six months," she said. "It was not our fault. What happened was a direct result of what police did."

For now, the jailed protesters are engaging in what their spokesmen call "jail solidarity" most of those arrested are refusing to give their names until they are all released with no charges or minor citations.

The tactic caused headaches for city officials in the District of Columbia in April after police arrested more than 1,300 people who protested against the meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Officials and activists reached a compromise after about five days in which most jailed protesters were released after paying a $5 fine.

Protest organizers also complained yesterday that jailed demonstrators they claimed there were about 100 more than police said weren't being arraigned quickly enough. Police responded that most protesters simply have to give their names and pay a small bond fee to be released.

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