Over 3000 people rallied and marched [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ] around the Capitol building in the center of the city, protesting against biotechnology and the genetic engineering of lifeforms. Members of the crowd decked themselves out with colorful costumes, signs, and props creating what was described as a Mardi Gras spirit. Response by Sacramento citizens was mostly positive. Police were outfitted with riot gear and armed with rubber bullet guns and tasers, and lined the route like a solid wall, not letting anyone onto the sidewalk. As the march wound down, officers began dividing the crowd, and became violent against many individuals without provocation [ 1 | 2 ]. The people, however, were undaunted, and spirits remained high as cops who surrounded one group of activists were in turn surrounded by the crowd, which successfully unarrested the activists who had been trapped in the middle. The police violence escalated; reports came in of beatings, tasering, and blood on the street. |
Over the course of the afternoon, groups of activists were harrassed and intimidated all over the city wherever they went. Central Sacramento was a police state. A few arrests occured as people slowly headed back to the Mobilization Welcome Center. A ribbon-cutting ceremony that was to occur as part of the WTO meetings was moved inside, to the delight of protesters. As darkness fell, word spread that police would be following any group of activists of 10 or more, and the Welcome Center began to feel under siege. All evening long and into the night, protesters walking home were detained, intimidated and in some cases arrested. Indymedia Biotech provided up-to-the-minute coverage. Helicopters with search lights buzzed the neighborhoods constantly as protesters eventually fell into fitful sleep.
That so many resources -- riot cops, bike cops, motorcycle cops, weapons, airplanes, and over time -- were spent on so few people speaks to the growing power of the anti-biotech and anti-corporate movements everywhere.
[ Photo overview Day 1-3 | SacMob, contro le biotecnologie del WTO (it) | Audio from March ]