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Report from Naperville RTS!

The citizens of Naperville, Illinois got a taste of a police state today. They said we were going to be 5000 strong. We were hoping for 100. We ended up being 30. Total costs (police wages) per partier are currently estimated at $2000 each.

It was an interesting idea, taking the concept of Reclaim The Streets, and pushing it out of the traditional rural locations, and into the suburbs. We put out flyers, spread the word around, and hoped for about 100 people to flood an intersection and party down. It wouldn't be completely political, although politically oriented people would be there.

We think the scattered rain may have deterred some people. But nothing deterred people like the hundreds of police officers patrolling Naperville's small downtown area. That was quite a deterrant, but only along with the undercover squad cars, undercover police, SWAT team, and police in riot gear. Officers from a neighboring town, Aurora, were called in to assist, and the FBI were also reported to be involved.

Yes, somewhere the police had gotten the idea that we would have 5000 people at our Reclaim The Streets! So, in the interests of avoiding "another Seattle", they made sure they kept these subversive youth in line. Apparently they thought that having a street party with a small Anarchist Marching Band was the same as amassing 50,000 protestors and a militant 500 person black bloc.

So, in the end, we were about 30 people. We kept getting looks from people in their cars early on, who were pretty unsure as to whether they should even park and get out like they had planned or just keep driving to the next town. A lot of times they would honk in support, but most chose the latter. We're confident we would have had the 100 people we had expected, but alas, most people aren't quite used to seeing the police state we live in rear it's ugly head.

Our preliminary calculations, based only on officer's wages, are that they spent a minimum of $2000 per partier (we weren't protestors, because this really wasn't a protest, and where they got that idea is beyond us). This makes us feel special, like the feeling you get when you find out that you've been fired, but the machine they bought to replace you costs millions.

In the end, we feel it was a success. We may not have taken over the streets (we hung out in a pavillion at the Naperville Riverwalk), but we did get some press, and we're sure that the dailies will have something about the excesses of the City of Naperville's response to a bunch of kids who just wanted to have a little party.

And moreso, it was a success because we learned a lot from this experience, and next time, we'll get it right. Until then, peace, love, and anarchy.

- The RTStreets! Collective
(RTS! Relations Committee)
 
 

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