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Monday, August 30, 2004

Critical Mass Prologue

Democracy Now reporting before the event and after

AMY GOODMAN: How many of you ride at once?

BRANDON NEUBAUER: Starting last year, we started getting more than 1,000. We’re getting up to 1200, 1500 people. We go up Sixth Avenue or any major avenue. We stretch more than 20 blocks, which is a mile. This despite the threats of the Police Department, I'm expecting this tonight's ride, which is a 7:00 p.m., Union Square North, to be awesome. And the reason why the cops are cracking down on it, because they know it's a source of spirit for the people involved.

So 5000 show up at the start.
BILL DiPAULO: My name is Bill DiPaulo, I work with Time's Up, an environmental group. We're using our bikes in nonpolluting transportation. And we want everybody to be aware that this is a positive thing happening, and not to be looked at as a demonstration but a positive celebration.

The aftermath appeared surreal and concocted.
LEIF: My name is Leif. I'm 19 years old. I was arrested for riding my bicycle. They put me in a bus, brought me to this place, it was like a pier, I don't know where it was. I think it was on the west side. The conditions were terrible. It was like these big, tall fence cages with barbed wire at the top. The floors were covered in this motor oil, type deal that gave me like a rash on my arm. It was terrible. And from there, we went to just cell to cell to cell. Basically I just got out just now.

UNIDENTIFIED: It feels like a really good plan. To break us mentally and physically. A preplanned system where people would be put in these very, very dirty facility and come out of the system, mentally broken, and physically dirty. And then, even the police people in the downtown station were constantly asking us, why are you so dirty and crusty punks? They were laughing at us. And they did -- I don't think they ever been there, they hadn't realize that they did it. That their system is doing it. And I think it was done intentionally to a crusty punk any possible legitimized person that is arrested. So that when they come out, any picture taken of them is just like this dirty anarchist madness.

Typical mountain-biking experience, ask this guy.

UPDATE: To those arrested, Velorution says don't pay the fine for traffic violations.
"We saw it coming as the rides have been growing,'' Mr. White said, adding that he found it paradoxical that any crackdown on riders would come at a time when the city's Transportation Department has advised people to use bikes as an alternative because of the heavy traffic expected near convention sites.


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