Streets of Denver: Bandanna-clad kids clash with cops, one arrested

A confrontation between police and protesters contrasted with what have been mostly uneventful protests.

Published August 25, 2008 9:42PM (EDT)

Photos: Nora Walsh-De Vries

DENVER -- The police presence has been crushing in Denver already, with caravans of cops flying around the city and eight or 12 guys in full riot gear hanging onto the outside of big SUVs in a show of force.

Besides a brief blockade of the Pepsi Center on Sunday, though, there hasn't been much real action. But today we ran into an angry confrontation between cops and half a dozen bandanna-wearing kids on the 16th Street Mall. No one could tell us exactly what happened, but a young protester named Chito, from Salem, Ore., said that "people were running, somebody dropped his pants -- not my friend" -- and that then his friend wound up under the cops, and under arrest.

The police wouldn't comment on the charges, and one cop calmly shot video of reporters as they asked questions and Chito and his friends yelled about the arrest.

"Stop the brutality!" A red-haired young woman in a green bandanna sobbed. "They tried to arrest my friend for no reason!" the woman said before she ran crying down the street.

According to Chito, he and his friend were part of no organized group but came to Denver to "protest the destruction of the environment, the use of coal, cheap lumber. We have to end the war," Chito said. "It's a war for cheap bananas, cheap commodities."

About 40 cops in riot gear blocked the intersection for at least 20 minutes so the dreadlocked kid from Salem could be taken away.

By Joan Walsh

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