Both Tina Korbe and I are attending the FreedomWorks BlogCon 2011, where a handful of Occupy Denver protesters started a protest in the lobby. That prompted a loud counterprotest from the attendees here, and one arrest of an Occupier. John Hawkins of Right Wing News snapped a photo of the arrest:
Here are a couple of videos of the protest, which lasted less than 30 minutes:
We’ll have more video when more of the attendees get a chance to upload them.
The clash erupted before I had a chance to get too close to the Occupiers themselves. They were briefly in sight, but got swallowed up by the BlogCon attendees. Frankly, the BlogCon response overwhelmed whatever the protesters tried to say — with chants of “Mike check!” and “We paid for your student loans!”, among others, the Occupiers got roundly shouted down. At one point, the entire BlogCon contingent in the lobby started chanting, “We want the dog!”, a reference to the elected leader of Occupy Denver — a pooch named Shelby.
I’m not sure what prompted the arrest. The police arrived, apparently at the request of the hotel, when the two sides began their loud clash. We have been informed that the hotel cannot keep the Occupiers out of the lobby, thanks to anti-discrimination law, but they can keep them out of our conference rooms — and hopefully the corridors of the hotel. Fortunately, access to the elevators depend on having a room key, so we’re probably safe enough. We’ll update the post as events transpire, but hopefully the Occupiers will satisfy themselves with protesting on the sidewalk, which is their right.
Update: The People’s Press Collective also has a post up about the “occupation.”
Update II: I forgot to mention that the bloggers broke into song as the Occupiers left the lobby, singing, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”
Update III (Tina): Personally, my favorite moment of the conference counter-protest came when one blogger shouted over the crowd, “Who here gets Koch money?” To which another blogger responded by raising a Coke can high over the crowd. Laughs all around — although I’m pretty sure the Occupiers didn’t get the joke.
Update V (Ed): Javier told me to add this video of the arrest, which you can find at his post as well (see link above):
Update VI (Ed): More from Jeff Dunetz in videos, pictures, and narrative — including the exit serenade I mentioned earlier. Plus, the Occupy Denver folks are laboring under a misapprehension. According to my sources, FreedomWorks doesn’t actually take money from the Koch Brothers, so the anti-Koch rhetoric is not just dumb, it’s completely misinformed. But considering the kind of intellect that the Occupy Movement attracts, that’s not exactly breaking news anyway.
Update VII (Ed): Warner Todd Huston has the best headline for the story: “Coke Heads Protest Koch Heads at Blogcon 2011.” Jim Hoft reports that one woman was a teacher who brought her students to the incoherent protest:
A Denver high school teacher brought students to an Occupy Denver event for a field trip today where they joined Occupy Denver activists as they storm the BlogCon conference. The teacher said she was showing them how democracy worked.
The teacher was too ashamed to give her name or the name of the private girls school she teaches at.
Both Warner and Jim have more video, so go check it out.
Update VII (Ed): Ace has what should be the final word on this demonstration:
And the thing is, the people on top of thing in a capitalist system? Would still be perched near the top of a socialist system. Because even a socialist system winds up promoting people who show up on time, do the tasks assigned to them (mostly looting money from other people), and tuck in their shirts once in a while.
We’d just all be poorer.
I pity them. What they are angry at is, ultimately, the universe itself for giving them life but not giving them ability.