Friday, May 27, 2005

Josh Harkinson: Houston Police Department Loses Its Cool At Halliburton Demonstration

(Courtesy of Abby Normal)

Horse Shoed: HPD loses its cool at the Halliburton demonstration
By Josh Harkinson
Houston Press

Demonstrators at the Four Seasons were already drenched in sweat by mid-morning. Wearing pig snouts and Dick Cheney masks, they pounded out a discordant complaint of banjo, whistle and drum while Halliburton shareholders were meeting inside. A cadre of police horses on the asphalt pranced nervous circles, their eyes wild behind Plexiglas riot face shields.

A splinter group of demonstrators began marching around The Park Shops, across the street from the hotel, followed by a retinue of horses. When the group got three-fourths of the way around, it rested in front of the entrance to a parking garage.

"Back it up!" yelled a mustachioed officer to the crowd, using his heels to make his horse rear up.

"Calm down," pleaded a protester in front, realizing there was nowhere to go. The demonstrators were pinned in, caught between a brick wall, a mass of people and a phalanx of hooves.

Spurred on by police, the horses marched forward, plowing into people. The protesters began pushing back; a slim pole that once held a communal sign now became a makeshift roadblock. It couldn't bear the equine rush, and the people began falling over and running into one another. A lone protester ran up to a horse and began banging a drum in its ear, trying to make it retreat from the crowd.

But the horses kept coming.

Entire Report

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