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2005 03 31
Mnemonic City-Fragment 2
imageDefenseFest 33 opened its doors on one of those incredibly bright March days when the snow on the ground throws back lumens sufficient to shrink your pupils to microdots. Despite the day's brightness, a bitterly cold wind scoured Front Street and the Metro Convention Centre.

From a distance, Hershie watched demonstration muster out front of the Eaton Centre, a few kilometers north, and march down to Front Street, along their permit-proscribed route. The turnout was good, especially given the weather: about 5,000 showed up with wooly scarves and placards that the wind kept threatening to tear loose from their grasp.

The veterans marched out front, under a banner, in full uniform. Next came the Quakers, who were of the same vintage as the veterans, but dressed like elderly English professors. Next came three different Communist factions, who circulated back and forth, trying to sell each other magazines. Finally, there came the rabble: Thomas's group of harlequin-dressed anarchists; high-school students with packsacks who industriously commed their browbeaten classmates who'd elected to stay at their desks; "civilians" who'd seen a notice and come out, and tried gamely to keep up with the chanting.

The chanting got louder as they neared the security cordon around the Convention Centre. The different groups all mingled as they massed on the opposite side of the barricades. The Quakers and the vets sang "Give Peace a Chance," while Thomas and his cohort prowled around, distributing materiel to various trusted individuals.
The students hollered abuse at the attendees who were trickling into the Convention Centre in expensive overcoats, florid with expense-account breakfasts and immaculately groomed.

Hershie's appearance silenced the crowd. He screamed in over the lake, banked vertically up the side of the CN Tower, and plummeted downward. The demonstrators set up a loud cheer as he skimmed the crowd, then fell silent and aghast as he touched down on the _opposite_ side of the barricade, with the convention-goers. A cop in riot-gear held the door for him and he stepped inside. A groan went up from the protestors, and swelled into a wordless, furious howl.
[email this story] Posted by Cory Doctorow on 03/31 at 08:10 AM

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