June 21, 1994

News: Cops tear-gas May Day celebration

Beltaine ritual broken up after police attack student party.

The Prattle has obtained an eye-witness report of police brutality at a Beltaine party last year in Provedence, Rhode Island, USA.

Someone from the local college, RISD, organised a May Day celebration in an old abandoned train tunnel. People turned up from as far as Boston, Connecticut and Maine. The witnesses arrived just after midnight and report

...it was a pretty scary scene, People went back into the tunnel for about 100 yards. There were fires everywhere (both on the ground and torches). A lot of what was burning smelled pretty toxic and the smoke got so thick that you could hardly see through it. It was pretty spooky -- everyone was dressed really weird, there were a lot of masks, drums, and chanting. We saw a pit surrounded with candles and a fake human head inside. We didn't go very far in because we got scared (we had gotten stoned and were kind of bugging out a little). It looked dangerous because everyone seemed fucked up and the ventilation was bad and we were afraid that a lot of people were going to get caught.

Just as we climbed back up the hill to the street, the cops began to show up. First it was RISD police and security, and then real cops showed up. It was just a few at first, but the crowd was so big that more cops soon showed up.

We were watching from a ledge, and we didn't think that the cops were going to be able to stop the crowd.

Eventually we heard that they were tear gassing people, but I didn't really believe it until people started pouring out of the tunnel coughing.

Most of the people moved up onto the street, but when the cops started to try to arrest the organiser of the celebration, all hell broke loose. People began to encircle the patrol car. They were yelling at the cops. The cops somehow got him into the car and more cops showed up.

People were still yelling and some threw rocks as the cops began to attack people with their night sticks. Someone jumped on a cop car and smashed the rear windshield, some more rocks flew (one at least hit a cop in the head).

One cop shot tear gas in our direction, but we ran and didn't breathe any.

We saw some people rushing a girl into a house and we went in to see if we could help. She had been tear gassed point blank in the face, and was complaining that her eyes were burning (she had a hard contact in that she couldn't pop out) and that she couldn't breathe. No one knew what to do, but they got some water and began to flush her eyes out. She was really flipping out.

Meanwhile, the crowd and cops were spreading up our way. One girl hit a cop with a rock and then ran into an alley behind our house and hid behind a dumpster. The cop ran into the alley, but went past the dumpster and the girl slipped out and escaped past the reinforcements.

The witnesses then went on to a Pagan celebration in Prospect Park. People were drumming and dancing. The police showed up and demanded everyone leave, which they did. There was one arrest at the ritual.

The two local TV stations took opposing stances on the trouble. The witnesses spoke to a reporter the following day and filled him in on the details. The reporter had obtained a flyer for the event and thought it was satanic!

One of the news teams was anti-police, asking questions such as So, kids were just partying, maybe drinking a little and having a good time, until the police showed up, right?.

The other team decided it was a Satanic ritual.

Some students were charged, but others are suing the police over the brutality. There is plenty of video footage.

The local mayor was not sympathetic at all. His response was You'd think that they'd teach them not to attend Pagan rituals and light fires and expressed his disappointment that it was bright students.

Source: Usenet [alt.pagan]

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This page contains a single entry by Feòrag published on June 21, 1994 10:26 PM.

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