Today is Cinco de Mayo, which just so happens to be a huge deal in Denver as well as the direct starting point of Copwatch in the mile high city. Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French on May 5, 1862. More importantly, Cinco celebrates Denver’s Mexican@ and Chican@ culture and communities, with an almost week long worth of festivities ranging from cruising down Federal to Cinco in the park.
Shockingly, the Denver Police Department is scared shitless of a bunch of brown people celebrating their culture. As a result, over the past 10+ years, the DPD has transformed a cultural celebration into community occupation. Copwatch emerged in Denver in 2000 as a direct result of the repression by the DPD during Cinco. In fact, in the early years of the 2000’s, Copwatches presence significantly deterred the DPD’s issuing of frivolous citations.
Unfortunately, over the past couple of years Cinco has become the most clear annual example of Denver as a police state. For several days and nights Federal Blvd becomes an apparent occupied territory. Last year there were more police than celebrators. The reason is clearly rooted in the racist infrastructure of our society. One must only look at the juxtaposition between the police presence during Cinco vs. that of a white holiday, lets say St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunalty, St. Patty’s day has become a holiday in which a bunch of people, primarily white people get drunk as shit on green beer, nontheless the DPD allows the ruckous to ensue. Not so lucky for the west side.
We will be out all week and encourage people to do the same.