Pt 2; The Zombies Thaw

The protest continued inside the gated parking area of the Denver Police station while I watched from outside, ready to get some good shots of the crowd getting pepper sprayed or perhaps a nice clubbing to the children attending the march. One of my iconic favorites amongst the jeering protesters was this little bug-eyed dog, maybe a Boston Terrier, that kept pace with the pack; a kind of symbolic feature for the group, something small and weird but sustaining the whole thing with a smile on it’s face. That’s exactly what this crowd of protesters was…kind of small and weird but resilient nonetheless. A number of times I had to tell people from the crowd that I was just there observing to report on the vent(via this blog) but managed to get drug into it at one point. This elderly small framed lady with white hair walked over to me as the crowd marched back down Colfax and into the heart of LoDo. She was carrying some large cardboard sign with some political message scrawled on it about ‘a police state’ or something to that effect. She asked if I would take her sign for her because she was hypoglycemic and needed to eat something or pass out. I assumed she was going to shove a Snickers bar in her mouth and take the sign back but no, she handed it to me and melted back into the middle of the group.

Here I was walking with the clan of unthawed zombies, a newly inducted mutant carrying some big nasty sign that I had no intention of keeping. I kept trying to pawn it off on someone else but there were no takers. Nice. I got to walk right in front of two police vehicles with their lights shining on me thinking there’s no way to talk my way out of this one if they decide to chow down on us and start hauling people off to jail. ‘Why no officer, this large sign that says fuck pigs? That’s not mine. Some sweet old lady gave it to me’. I knew I had to ditch the sign but didn’t want to risk being seen as a quitter by the crowd of true zombie folk so I patiently let them slide ahead of me, faking the old slow walk, and once I got to the very back of the crowd I cut over to the edge of the street and laid the protest sign on top of some unsuspecting parked car. I could just imagine the owner coming out after a nice meal at some restaurant only to find this peculiar message attached to the roof of his vehicle. Paranoia might cause the owner to have a breakdown or something but all I knew was, I was free of that burden.

The protesters continued for a few miles, zigging and zagging their way around the U.S. Mint building and portions of LoDo. While they continued their rant I spoke with some media folk back at the encampment, as well as the remaining street sacks that didn’t participate in the march. A few things became clear to me after speaking with those that stayed behind. There are two class of zombies down here at Colfax and Broadway, something I hadn’t been aware of (at least not to such a large degree). The true hard core devotees to the politically motivated civil unrest down here are part timers. The ones who have stuck it out through frigid temperatures and day after day of destitute existence are one hundred percent true blood homeless people. The homeless here at the western portion of the park could give a rat’s ass about the movement, they just want a place to pitch tent, get high and smoke cigarettes (constantly on the lookout for a butt to smoke). Eagle Force Five didn’t disband, they merely went back home to re-organize (for Eagle Force Five reference, see earlier posting from October 25th, “Eagle Force Five, You Have Failed Us Again”). The homeless folks there were irate at the protesters because they felt this night’s march might bring the police in with trailers to haul away their precious tarps and sleeping bags. . The fact ended up that the police didn’t want to haul them off that evening, their presence on the street was for traffic control. No one suffered any casualty and things settled down after a few hours but there for a while, the group showed some real promise which made me think that perhaps, come March and April, the thaw would take hold and more zombies will be created to take marches like this one up a notch or two. The true protesters have been telling me for some time that this movement will only grow but my perception to this point was one of skepticism. Will it grow? Will they take a lesson from Oakland and get bigger and more violent? I’ll have to wait until the thaw is permanent to see.


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