Pubdate: Sun, 06 May 2001
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2001 Daily News, L.P.
Author: Greg Gittrich and Don Singleton


Thirty demonstrators were arrested yesterday afternoon when a
Manhattan marijuana march ended in violent clashes between protesters
and cops.

Police hit at least a dozen people with pepper spray after marchers
ran through crowded Battery Park pointing out undercover officers
arresting participants for smoking pot.

"No narcs in the park!" they chanted as they identified the narcotics
cops. Other chants included "41 shots!" - a reference to the police
slaying of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo.

The annual pot parade, this time called "Cures Not Wars - 2001 The
Space Odyssey," began forming at 11 a.m. at Washington Square Park. At
1 p.m., marchers proceeded to Broadway and then headed south toward
their intended destinations - City Hall Park and Battery Park.

Organizers estimated the crowd at 5,000; police say

The protesters walked south, filling five solid blocks, chanting, "We
smoke pot, and we like it a lot," and carrying placards that read
"Free the Herb," "Emancipate Cannibis" and "No Ganja, No Peace."

Many argued for the legalization of medical use of marijuana; others
supported legalized recreational use of the drug.

The marchers, mostly young and white, were led by a statuesque woman
dubbed Medical Marijuana Barbie, who wore fluorescent pink hair and a
pink patterned dress.

"Marijuana is peaceful," said Marcus Josepin, 18, of Kearny, N.J. "You
never see a crackhead march or a heroin user march."

Organizers carried a pinata shaped like Mayor Giuliani's head that was
filled with fake joints.

By 3 p.m., the marchers reached Battery Park, where they began to
light up real joints.

Plainclothes cops arrested smokers in twos and threes, placed them in
plastic handcuffs, photographed and herded them into waiting vans.

At 4:10 p.m., four plainclothes officers were carrying an arrested man
toward an area where several police vans were parked, and the man's
loud protests and the way the cops were carrying him - facedown, his
face bouncing on the ground - caused scores of people to come running.

A few minutes later, another officer tripped as he was removing a man.
A uniformed officer rushed in to help the fallen cop to his feet, and
when a crowd gathered around him, a lieutenant began spraying the
protesters with pepper spray.

The demonstrators disbanded shortly after 6 p.m., the time their rally
permit expired.
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