05 Aug 2008
By CHARLIE BRENNAN, Reporter
DENVER (MyFOXColorado.com) - Democratic National Convention
protesters plan to raise the roof - and the rest of the United States
Mint in Denver - later this month when the party convenes in Denver
to nominate Sen. Barack Obama as its candidate for president.
Organizers of Recreate 68, which is affiliated with at least a dozen
protest groups mobilizing for the DNC later this month, are planning
to attempt a levitation of the U.S. Mint as a statement against the
money being spent on the convention which activists feel would better
be spent on the poor.
"It's time to redistribute the wealth," reads a statement at the
Recreate68.org Web site.
"Between security and corporate payoffs, the DNC will cost over 100
million dollars for a party. We think the people deserve that money."
The statement goes on to say, "Join us as we encircle the Denver
Mint...and use our collective power to raise the Mint building in the
air and shake the money out of it for the people."
The attempted levitation is set for 5 p.m. Aug. 25, the first full
day of the four-day convention.
"We're going to have a couple thousand people surround this entire
building, and they're going to be bringing all their magic, all their
energy and everything that they have with them, and the idea is we're
going to raise this building up in the air with a little bit of
singing, a little bit of dancing," said Glenn Spagnuolo, a co-founder
and spokesman of Recreate 68.
"The way we look at it, there is so much disparity between the rich
and the poor right now that we want to take some of that money out of
the hands of the greedy. And what better place than the Denver Mint?"
The mint, that week, will be "in maintenance mode," according to a
Mint spokesman, meaning that while staff will be there, coins will
not be in production and public tours will not be conducted. The fact
that the "maintenance mode" week is scheduled for the same week as
the DNC - and the scheduled protest - is a coincidence, the spokesman said.
"That was planned in advance," said U.S. Mint spokesman Greg
Hernandez. He didn't appear worried about the scheme to levitate the
building, which takes up the better part of an entire city block.
"The United States Mint Police do work with the Secret Service and,
during that week, obviously, there will be a lot more security
details located in the city. But the facility of the United States
Mint will be protected by the United States Mint Police, and it will
be, like I said, business as usual."
The planned raising of the Mint is not without precedent. Thousands
of anti-war protesters during the Vietnam conflict, on Oct. 21, 1967,
massed at the Pentagon and, under the anarchic leadership of Yuppies
including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and the poet Allen Ginsberg,
attempted to levitate the nerve center of the American military in an
effort "exorcise" the evil spirits they believed controlled it.
No reported levitation was observed by sober onlookers. But there was
sporadic violence when some of the protesters managed briefly to get
inside the facility, and there were a reported 680 arrests and some
blood spilled before it was over.
Spagnuolo, who has disavowed any plans for violence, acknowledged
that the levitation scheme is not entirely original.
"We call ourselves Recreate 68, and we want to do a little something
to remember Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and the folks that came
before us," he said. "And this is kind of our ode to them, and also
our respect to the poor communities here, 'cause poverty is a killer.
And we think this is a good way to bring some attention to that issue."
People waiting in line outside the Mint on Tuesday to go on the
public tours were mystified when told of Recreate 68's plans.
"I don't understand," said Bob Bobo, of Colorado Springs. "The
protesters ought to spend their time doing something else, if you ask me."