Comfest Satuday Ends in Radical Street Demo
Sunday, Jun. 24, 2007 at 10:18 PM
Saturday June 23rd, 2007 Comfest regained some its political clout when the festival ended in a radical street march against the War in Iraq. At around 10pm a crowd assembled by the pond at the northeast corner of the Goodale park. Demonstrators brandished bullhorns, bucket drums, banners, signs, and torches. The festival had been going on all day and much of the crowd had grown rowdy and boisterous after a day of Comfest beverages and music.
Comfest Satuday Ends in Radical Street Demo
The first ComFest took shape when a handful of political hippies who had already formed, among other things, a free medical clinic, a food co-op, a tenants union and an alternative newspaper, pulled off a big street party at the convergence of East 16th and Waldeck Avenues in the OSU area. Saturday June 23rd, 2007 Comfest regained some its political clout when the festival ended in a radical street march against the War in Iraq. At around 10pm a crowd assembled by the pond at the northeast corner of the Goodale park. Demonstrators brandished bullhorns, bucket drums, banners, signs, and torches. The festival had been going on all day and much of the crowd had grown rowdy and boisterous after a day of Comfest beverages and music.
The march began through Gooddale Park chanting "Join Us", numbers swelled to about one hundred when the march entered the street at the intersection between Buttles Ave and High St. At around 10:30pm, an inopportune time for the city of Columbus, the Comfest Festival was closing-up for the night and the street was packed with cars. Traffic was reduced to a standstill as demonstrators danced and chanted in the street "Shit, goddamn, get off your ass and jam", and "One, two, three, four we don't want your fucking war." The majority of drivers supported the march and were not angered by the interruption, some of them even left their cars and joined the march. The march continued up and down the Short North area of High St for about forty-five minutes without police interference. When the crowd marched down Nationwide Blvd towards Nationwide Arena three police cars were waiting at the intersection of Nationwide Blvd and Front St. Police announced that demonstrators were committing disorderly conduct and without giving anyone anytime to vacate the street, police produced fire extinguisher-sized bottles of tear gas and proceeded to gas the entire city block. The air filled with gas and people began coughing and being irritated by the harmful chemicals. One person was tackled to the ground by a police officer but a friend from the march saved him from arrest. Hundreds of people, who were not even participating in the march, were also gassed. They were probably harmed even more than the demonstrators were as they sat immobile at Brother's and Gas Works. We've got it on film! People in the march took care of one another pouring water into irritated eyes and helping anyone winded by the gas get to safety. After making sure that eveyrone in the crowd was healthy and safe the march dispersed. No arrests were made.
A diverse crowd took High Street on Saturday night. People from Columbus Studens for a Democratic Society, Arawak City, Central Ohioans for Peace and Not in Our Name were in attendance, as well as many people attending Comfest, who had never been involed in a political action. The tactic of taking over busy intersections is effective because it brings the anti-war message to an audience that cannot help but listen. Slowing down traffic reminds people that there are connections between oil consumption and all wars in the Middle East. Breaking the law expands the realm of political expression beyond its established limits. Participation and action are more inspiring and more educational and more intelligent than boredom and passivity.
It has been four long years since the beginning of the War in Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq and there has never been any link between the Iraqi people and the small group of hijackers who committed 9/11.. Hundreds of thousdands of innocent Iraqis are now dead along with thousands of American soldiers. Corporations like Halliburton and Betchel have profited greatly. Public opinion polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly against the continuation and expansion of the war. All of this and still the Bush administration and its Democratic congress continue to run roughshod over democracy in America, pursuing their illegitimate and immoral war.
If anyone has any information or film portraying the police brutality committed against Columbus citizens Saturday night please leave a comment below.
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