Chicago Police Raid Activist Headquarters as President Addresses Convention

Press Conference and Demonstration Planned at Police Headquarters

                        PRESS RELEASE
August 29, 1996

Contact:  312/278-0775 (James or Vic, Autonomous Zone)
          312/243-8342 (CounterMedia)        
  Press Conference and Demonstration Planned at Police Headquarters
CHICAGO- As President Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National
Convention tonight, Chicago police raided the site of Active Resistance, a
counter-convention conference organized by the local activist group,
Autonomous Zone.  A press conference and demonstration will be held at
1:00pm on Friday, August 30 at the 14th District Police Station, 2150 N. 
California Ave.
At approximately 8:00pm tonight, numerous police vans gathered in the
street and 5-8 uniformed officers forced their way into the building at
2010 W. Carroll, which has served as a central meeting site for the
conference.  Several conference participants were pepper-sprayed; two were
hospitalized.  Officers reportedly searched through personal belongings
and confiscated radio equipment and papers from the site. Conference
participants report that when they asked to see a search warrant, officers
told them a search warrant wasn't necessary.  No arrests have been
As officers entered from the back of the building, they ordered conference
participants there to sit down. Those who did not sit down were pushed
down.  One officer threatened to push a woman down the back stairs of the
building.  Conference participant Lynn Harrington was kicked and, when she
asked officers "what are you doing?," was pepper-sprayed in the face at
close range.  Conference participants report that they repeatedly
requested a search warrant and officers' badge numbers, but were not
provided with either.  Participants were told they were not being arrested
or detained.  But when one woman and her three year-old son asked if they
could leave, officers denied them permission.  On their way out, officers
reportedly pepper-sprayed participants indiscriminately.  Conference
participant Alex Berkman was sprayed repeatedly at close range and was
Police vans then proceeded to another Active Resistance meeting site at
343 N. Western.  By the time officers arrived at the second site,
counter-convention participants had already removed their belongings and
evacuated the building. 

Active Resistance has been host to over 700 activists from throughout
North America and Europe who came to Chicago to attend workshops and
discussion groups on issues ranging from community organizing to
alternative economics.  Conference participants also organized today's
Festival of the Oppressed, a peaceful street-theater procession with
costumes and colorful puppets made by participants during the week. 
The police raids this evening come at the end of a day of 14 arrests of
activists and independent media makers.  Eight conference participants
were arrested at the Festival of the Oppressed procession, including the
parade's traffic safety coordinator.  Six videographers working with
CounterMedia, a coalition of alternative media makers, were arrested while
covering the procession. Their cameras were confiscated and some of their
film was destroyed by arresting officers.  Videographer Jeff Perlstein,
who was arrested earlier in the week and participated in CounterMedia's
press conference this morning addressing police harassment of independent
media, was arrested again this afternoon.  He reports witnessing an
officer smash his camera on the ground.  Charges have not yet been

Related Material:
Sunday 8/25: Increased Police Surveillance of Activist Conference
Tuesday 8/27: Chicago Clinic Defense Confrontation - CounterMedia cameraman Eddy Nix Arrested at Clinic Defense
Tuesday 8/27: Photo Archive: Clinic Defense
Wednesday 8/28: Photo Archive: Harassment of CounterMedia Mobile Crew at Cash the Check Demonstration
Thursday 8/29: Increased Police Harassment of Activist Conference and CounterMedia Thursday 8/29: Press Conference Called to Discuss Police Harassment of Activist Conference and CounterMedia