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Picture of the Day
June 8, 2020

we heard the cops were abandoning the east precinct so i loaded up a song and pocket speaker to send them off on a high note but it never came to that. we toured the perimeter, pretty quiet, but the cops and national guard were waiting in the wings, half a block behind the barricades at 11th. all it took was one young man on a bullhorn to urge the protest forward until the line was toe to toe with instantly mobilized troops in the middle of the block. i was reluctant, but sarah exhibits more natural courage and rushed to the front so what could i do but follow? someone handed us umbrellas to deflect mace and projectiles should it come to that—and it looked like it was about to, cops and guardsmen donning gas masks and shaking their oversized cans threateningly. the commander assured us they would be gone in 45 minutes, so we waited, relieved as more and more of them peeled off, until finally the last couple dozen mounted their bikes and pedaled away in the wake of retreating vans and bearcats, leaving not a single cop anywhere in sight. i suppose they hoped this would trigger an all-out assault on the abandoned, boarded-up police station, but the crowd just marched past it, chanting and elated. it was never about the building, but the principle of being denied access to the street. hours later, the precinct was still unharmed. this doesn't necessarily bode well because the last thing the cops want is to be proven irrelevant, and this tranquil denouement is almost certainly not the fiery reichstag climax they were hoping for to justify even greater repression. steeped in violence, cops can't grasp peaceful means and motives.