People's Law Project to Provide Free Representation at DNC

If you get arrested protesting at the Democratic National Convention in August, have no fear, the DNC People's Law Project will have your back.

The People's Law Project will provide pro-bono attorneys to help jailed protesters during the convention. The group will also staff a hotline where protesters can call for help and will field teams of neutral legal observers who will attend rallies and videotape protesters' interaction with police.

60 lawyers willing to volunteer their services met at the University of Denver today for a training session on how to defend arrested protesters.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has said the police have undergone training to help diffuse violence. Denver civil rights attorney David Lane, speaking at today's session, said police reaction to the protesters is key.

"If police are ill-trained and ill-led, '68 may very well be recreated in Denver," Lane said referring to riots during the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.

The protest groups insist they are non-violent.

"We are completely peaceful," said Rob Weiland, a 37-year-old courier from Denver and member of the group We Are Change Colorado. "We follow the ideals of Ghandi."

The protest groups are also conducting training classes:

The Alliance for Real Democracy, a coalition of 18 groups, is planning a week of classes in City Park on topics such as non violence and how to organize a demonstration. A concert with Denver band the Flobots also is in the works.

While the groups aren't looking for trouble from police, they will be prepared to expose any misconduct by videotaping confrontations and putting them on You Tube for the world to see, free of editing by the mainstream media.

According to the article, one group that is ready for some headlines is Unconventional Action.

Its approach is one of direct action, such as blocking access to corporate-funded parties or blocking delegates from leaving their hotels to go to the convention and vote.

If you'd like to follow the plans of the protest groups, here's the news page for Unconventional Action. Also check out DNC Disruptions, "online clearinghouse for radical and progressive groups organizing against the Democratic National Convention " and ReCreate 68, which has this advice for out of town protesters:

Saturday, August 23 - When you arrive in Denver, find your way to Lincoln Park in front of the State Capitol for the sharing of important information. We will be presenting trainings and knowledge shares on logistics of Denver and the DNC, “Know Your Rights” trainings, Legal Observer trainings, non-technical blockade trainings, self-defense trainings and more that will help you throughout the week.
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  • Display: Sort:
    Does any one know exactly WHAT they're protesting? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by WillBFair on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:07:39 PM EST
    I would have thought there'd be none. If Obama had lost the primary as well as the popular vote, his worshipers would have thrown a fit. But Hillary's folk are too classy for such hooliganism.

    On the other hand, we should be thinking up some cool placard slogans. How about:



    Are you kidding? (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:55:33 AM EST
    There's a list a mile long with reasons to protest the Democratic Party.

    Name one, please. (none / 0) (#10)
    by WillBFair on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 03:00:49 AM EST
    Here's several... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 08:43:01 PM EST
    drug war, iraq occupation, explosion of federal crimes passed, prison policy, foreign policy...just for starters.

    This is absolutely wonderful (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 07:03:07 PM EST
    I was very scared when I took off for Crawford to protest.  What was I thinking?  My husband told me I was going to get arrested and then grinned stupidly.  When I got there thank God several lawyers were some of the first to Crawford TX knowing that some people may be needing some representation and I felt much better meeting them and knowing that maybe someone had our backs if fur started flying.  I just knew we were going to be arrested, Bush had not allowed anyone to talk back to him.  We were probably fried for sure but my heart and soul would not allow me to stay home.  Still surprised everyone wasn't declared enemy combatants or something.

    ha ha ha ha... (none / 0) (#1)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:16:34 PM EST
    oooh we are such a funny party I just want to weep!

    "Trainings and knowledge shares"? (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:20:41 PM EST

    That's pretty awesome (none / 0) (#3)
    by Valhalla on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:55:32 PM EST
    Does anyone know if there's been free legal representation like this at previous conventions?  I'm a bit curious.

    Yes, at the 2004 RNC. (none / 0) (#6)
    by scoutfinch on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:59:20 PM EST
    The National Lawyers Guild had trained volunteer lawyers, and the NYCLU represented the plaintiffs in the civil suit against the city after the convention.

    Ironically, many of the NLG lawyer-observers were arrested when the police swept full city blocks and arrested everyone in sight.

    The good news is that Denver's plan seems designed to avoid mass arrests, which were a part of NYC's 2004 plan.


    This is politically shrewd? (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 11:13:05 PM EST
    Defending and encouraging nationally publicized rabble-rousers at the Democratic convention is supposed to be good politics in the 2008 election for Democrats?  

    I couldn't agree more. Don't they remember (none / 0) (#9)
    by WillBFair on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 02:59:39 AM EST
    what happened in chicago? And still, no one has answered the question. What are they protesting. Not the war, because Obama has promised to get us out. So what?

    Promises, promises.... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Sun Jul 20, 2008 at 08:45:47 PM EST
    If Obama is elected and we don't have troops in Iraq in 2012 I'll eat my shorts.

    The Democratic Party supported the war in Iraq, and they support the continued occupation of Iraq...the proof is in the pudding, regardless of the "promises".