Apparently the Denver Occuzombies tried to disrupt a meeting of conservative bloggers called BlogCon 2011. The protesters were outnumbered by wingnuts who quickly swarmed them and shouted them down.
The clash erupted before I had a chance to get too close to the Occupiers themselves. They were briefly in sight, but got swallowed up by the BlogCon attendees. Frankly, the BlogCon response overwhelmed whatever the protesters tried to say — with chants of “Mike check!” and “We paid for your student loans!”, among others, the Occupiers got roundly shouted down. At one point, the entire BlogCon contingent in the lobby started chanting, “We want the dog!”, a reference to the elected leader of Occupy Denver — a pooch named Shelby.
I’m not sure what prompted the arrest. The police arrived, apparently at the request of the hotel, when the two sides began their loud clash. We have been informed that the hotel cannot keep the Occupiers out of the lobby, thanks to anti-discrimination law, but they can keep them out of our conference rooms — and hopefully the corridors of the hotel. Fortunately, access to the elevators depend on having a room key, so we’re probably safe enough. We’ll update the post as events transpire, but hopefully the Occupiers will satisfy themselves with protesting on the sidewalk, which is their right.
Unable to find any old ladies they could push down the stairs, the protesters retreated.
Could this be a sign that another “Hard Hats vs. Hippies” counterprotest is coming?
By noon, more than 1,000 people had gathered and the vigil had escalated to a rally, and about 200 construction workers had had enough. They made signs reading things like “America, Love it or Leave it” and got right up against the police line that separated them from the students. They obeyed it for a few minutes, but the tension got to be too much and the construction workers started chasing the students through the street, beating some of them severely with fists, clubs and crowbars. The construction worker mob fought their way into City Hall and demanded that the flag be raised to full mast again – it had been lowered to half mast to honor the dead at Kent State. Fearful of further damage from the mob, the Deputy Mayor ordered the flag to be raised. The riot eventually fizzled out on its own. Six arrests were made and more than 70 people were injured.
Ironically, those construction workers were building the World Trade Center just a couple blocks from what is now Zuccotti Park.