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July 30, 2012

Video: Police Clash With Protesters Outside Governors Conference in Burlington

ProtestPolice fired pepper balls and sting balls at protesters outside the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Conference in Burlington yesterday.

Activists from New England and Quebec converged on the Queen City for a day of protests outside the conference, which took place at the Hilton Burlington. The protests centered on Canada's mining of tar sands oil and what environmentalists believe is a plan to ship tar sands oil through the Northeast Kingdom. Protesters also rallied in solidarity with Quebec's student demonstrations and representatives from the Innu First Nation denounced Hydro Quebec.

The rallies were peaceful and non-violent all day long, with protesters numbering in the hundreds. But late in the afternoon, a small group of protesters attempted to block buses believed to be carrying the governors and premiers from leaving the Hilton's side driveway on College Street. It was then that protesters and police clashed and some protesters were shot with "less-lethal" munitions.

From a Burlington Police Department press release:

[Protesters] were warned several more times before a crowd control team of officers with plastic shields and helmets was deployed to walk ahead of the bus following standard procedure to ensure that protestors were not struck and to assist the bus in leaving. As the officers walked forward they were physically confronted by the crowd. Some began pushing back toward the officers, others sat on the ground while at least two others laid down locking arms. 

Click here to read the full account of the incident from the police department.

Below are some videos and photos shot by protesters and onlookers.

Police Shoot Less-Lethal Munitions At Protesters Outside Governors Conference

Storified by Tyler Machado � Mon, Jul 30 2012 08:22:49

This video is a little over nine minutes long. With buses ready to leave the driveway, the mood seems tense but mellow, with one officer smiling and joking with the assembled crowd. Protesters sing the Imperial March theme from "Star Wars" as police dressed in riot gear walk in front of the buses. During a quiet pause in the action, you can hear pops as the police discharge non-lethal munitions. Then protesters scatter, with cops hastily chasing after them and forming a gap to let the buses pass. 
This video posted by documentary filmmaker Sam Mayfield shows what happened on the west side of the driveway, closer to the lake. Cops chase protesters down the street with non-lethal weapons drawn.
rubber bullets in vtmayfieldlikesvideo
This video (without sound) comes via Twitter user @beerlington, showing the incident has it unfolded on the east side of the driveway.
Burlington, VT protest gets violento5w8NeWSTvYIZGWjXLOAWg
Video from the Burlington Free Press, linked below, shows a woman getting shot at with sting balls. This appears to be after the initial incident as the bus is now entering College Street. Afterwards an officer continues to point his gun at the woman.
Here are a dozen photos from photographer Dylan Kelley.
Dylan Kelley Photography: Bloody Sunday in BurlingtonOn the afternoon of July 29th, Burlington Police opened fire on unarmed civilians with rubber bullets, pepperspray, and other projectiles...
Below are photos from Twitter users from throughout the day.
Protest has begun at city hall park in #btv. Focus is governors and premieres conference and energy Hodges
yeah, it's like that at the #btvconvergence.
Great turnout today for the Convergence on the NE Governors' Conference. #btv #occupy ISO
Leave the oil in the soil. #btvconvergence ISO
Quebec student strikers sent representatives. #solidarity #btvconvergence ISO
You're sexy! You're cute! Take off your rioy suit! #btvconverge #usrevolution New England
Seems like a whole lot of cops for peaceful demonstration #BTVConverge Vermont
Four people reportedly shot with rubber bullets by police in Burlington #btv #vt #occupybtv. During protest College St Iversen
Rubber bullets fired into peaceful protesters in #Burlington #J29 #btvconvergence Scully
#btvconvergence riot cops fired rubber bullets at demonstrators blocking delegates' busses
Not every day you see police in riot gear in Burlington, VT. Protest on College St. #BTVKate Messner
Protesters collect rubber bullets shot at them by police during #btvconverge. #btv #vt. #occupybtv Iversen
Video of police in riot gear & protesters on College St. Burlington, VT #BTVKate Messner
@caulkthewagon #Occupy, #NoTarSands protesters fired upon with less-lethal rounds in #Burlington #btvconvergence #j29 Scully
More fun w/ pepper pellets! #btvconvergence #RETWEET New England
Seriously, is it common practice for police to remove their nametags before roughing up civilians? #btvconvergence #j29 Scully
Another one of the #Burlington police who removed his nametag during the attack on protesters. #btvconvergence Scully

Other reports on the protests:

If you've got photos, videos or anecdotes from yesterday's protests, post them in the comments below.

Photo courtesy of Elliot DeBruyn/Burlington Free Press

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