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Chicago Indymedia

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Security Perimeter Falls!

20 April 01-- Within fifteen minutes of being approached by the Red Bloc protest group, the Wall of Shame had been toppled.
20 April 2001, Quebec City— The activist was doubled over, screaming with fright. He was one of the Red (disturbance-oriented) Bloc protesters who had converged at the fence surrounding the high-security area where the Summit of the Americas meetings were in progress, and he was about to take a serious, headfirst fall.

A protest of roughly 2000 people, organized by CLAC/CASA and starting at noon, had marched peacefully for five miles from eastern Quebec City to within a quarter mile of the security wall. It joined with a march coming from the south for a few blocks. At approximately three p.m., the combined group reached an intersection where the march began to divide into those who wished to join the Green (peaceful, festive, non-confrontational) Bloc, and those who wanted to act as members of the Red Bloc.

The Greens diverted down a side street to begin the Carnival Against Capitalism, a street festival located south of the perimeter. As the crowd split, the Red Bloc wheeled to the right to their agreed upon zone, where they were blocked by a phalanx of police. The Red Block then moved back to Boul. Rene Levesque, and advanced forward to the 'perimeter' -- the nine-foot wall of fencing and barricades erected by police to block protesters' access to the area of the Old City in which the Summit of the Americas is being convened.

The Reds, who consisted mainly of young, white activists, included many apparent anarchists and other radicals. Most of the crowd was masked and wearing goggles in anticipation of tear gas and pepper spray from the police, and some carried sticks as an answer to police batons. As the group of several hundred progressed to the wall, a chant went up: "Fuck you, go away, FTAA!" A circle of drummers kept a fast-tempoed beat, the sonic version of the tension and anger reflected in the faces of the protesters.

With police blocking access to their designated zone, the protesters walked up to the fence and then began to cling to it, yelling "This is what democracy looks like!" and other messages at the mainstream press, riot cops, and other people within the protected area beyond. One masked activist began to climb the barrier, perching at the top and looking for a moment as though he would leap into the secured area where riot cops stood. Instead, he clung to the top unsteadily as his comrades cheered.

The yelling soon turned to more definite action: with the climber still perched on top of the wall, the group below began to grab the chainlink, using their strength to rock the structure on its concrete base while screaming "Tear it down! Tear it down!" Quickly, the fence began to give. The activist on top turned to face the protest and bent over, grabbing the fence and yelling frantically. Before he could leap into the crowd, the fence toppled into the security area. (It remains uncertain whether or not he was injured.)

It was 3:15 p.m. The wall that was meant to be an impenetrable barrier for the protection of the SOA’s delegates had lasted less than fifteen minutes.

Protests continued throughout the day and long into the night, with increasing numbers of local residents joining protesters in the streets of the neighborhood of Ste. Jean Baptiste. More reports as information becomes available.



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