In the weeks and months leading up to last Tuesday's election, there was a dawning sense of optimism--an idea that the Bush administration's clampdown and morally suffocating era may draw to a quick end. But by Wednesday evening it was back to business as usual as 500 protesters upset by Bush's second term victory were roaming downtown. At one point, police in head-to-toe riot gear chased down protesters and shoppers alike, randomly pepper spraying several of them. Seven protesters were also arrested.

One of those, Moriah Blue, said she was protesting peacefully and was simply trying to cross the street when the police started to push her back. She lost her footing and nearly fell underneath a police horse. When Blue tried to step back onto the curb, a cop grabbed her.

Blue has attended protests before, but had never been arrested until Wednesday. After being yanked from the sidewalk, her arms were pinned behind her back and she was cuffed. During her arrest, the officer did not talk. "I don't even know if I was being frisked by a man or a woman," Blue said.

"It doesn't seem like the police are even trying to communicate," she said, pointing out they didn't have bullhorns to talk with the crowd.

Blue was taken to the downtown jail, where she was held for nine hours--half that time with her hands cuffed tightly behind her back. "It seemed excessive," she said. "I do feel like there should be some basic things--like explaining why they are arresting you or taking off the cuffs once you're in a holding cell." She was not once offered food.

Blue is considering filing a lawsuit. PHIL BUSSE


Although city council's vote to reauthorize--or not--the Joint Terrorism Task Force was scheduled for last Wednesday, it was canceled. A spokesperson for the mayor's office blamed the FBI for failing to turn in paperwork in a timely fashion. The public hearing has been rescheduled, inconveniently, to December 22.

With both council members Randy Leonard and Erik Sten expressing public doubts about the Task Force's effectiveness, this is the first time that it risks not having the council's full support. Until earlier this year, not even the mayor or police chief had access to the Task Force's files. PB