Critical Mass Arrests In Minneapolis

Upwards of twenty cyclist were arrested the other day when a “melee” broke out after protesters attempted to interfere with an officer making an arrest of a cyclist who the officer felt had been provoking him or drivers of automobiles, facts are unclear.

What is clear is that the officers on the scence called for assistance prompting dozens of squad cars to converge.

The police used mace and pepper spray to control the crowd.

Read the full story here.

Several years ago I was a regular at “The Mass”.

I’d ride one of my more impractical bikes….

Or if unable to secure childcare I’d hitch up the Burley trailer and get political for better bike access as my daughter slumbered peacefully behind me.

I saw the whole thing as part parade, part protest. I enjoyed disrupting rush-hour traffic with our presence, getting those stuck in the urban gridlock the contemplate their vehicular choices. Even back in those early days we’d garner a police escort to keep things from getting out of hand. Of course there would always be conflicts over the cops trying to lead us where they wanted us to go (yeah, right) and the fact that the loose organization of Critical Mass means that there is no ‘leader’ to attempt to influence or corner when things get ugly.

It was anarchy; order without rulers. In other words; heaven.

But there were problems.

Back in those days there were a number of local, hard core protesters who were attempting to disrupt to clearing of an old growth oak forest to make way for the current light rail system and the expansion of Highway 55.

It was an impressive movement. Dozens of protesters actually camped out in the area and lived there for 16 months, preventing any work from proceeding.

Several of those associated with the movement would show up to Critical Mass rides, using it’s regularity to create more awareness of their beef with MNDOT and the City of Minneapolis’ wholesale destruction of a Native American spiritual site.

Although I wanted to be supportive of their cause, I would find myself very irked with their presence at The Mass rides. While those present to further the awareness of the cycling alternative tended to let our presence speak for us, not really engaging verbally with people in cars, unless they were supportive, The Oaks folks however were very vocal, rushing to be in the front at every intersection and lingering at the end of the group to maximize their exposure.  Although I never was in attendance when there were altercations with Minneapolis’ Finest, they did happen.

The 55 vs. Oaks protesters eventually lost that fight.

Now there are a number of organizations, both local and national who are making preparations to disrupt the Republican National Convention next year, and from the sounds of it they are going to use The Mass as a way to polish some of their techniques.

Looks like the cops had the same idea.

Newscast and raw footage here.





1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Wheels said,

    I think that CM has been hijacked, there has always been a contingent of “full-on anarchists” present who are more than happy to push the limits of a “civil protest”, constantly pushing the limits to see which buttons they can push to get the police to react.

    The fact that these people are amping things up, it doesn’t surprise me that the police have decided to use the event for practice. These are the same people who pushed things over the line at the WTO event. They want the police to respond.

    Those involved in Crit-mass should call these people out and purge the ranks of these kinds of people. They are not helping the cause, or protesting peacefully – as we have always done.

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