Donna: I was a little worried about coming to the Democratic National Convention with only one press credential. What would the other nine MOMocrats do while just one of us got to be part of the action on the floor?
As it turns out, there was quite a lot for the rest of us to do. So much, that at 6:00, the four of us stationed in the Big Tent were feeling kind of tired. We decided to go back to the hotel, have a sensible dinner and get organized for the next day.
Steph: I was hauling the MOMocrats in my stylin' minivan ...
Julie: The Taurus SUV... which is kind of an oxymoron because SUV is supposed to be kind of hip and minivan is a mom car, which is kind of perfect for us.
Steph: So, I was driving the "Miss Daisies" when I noticed a mob of motorcycles with flashing lights zooming towards us in the rear view mirror.
Steph: I think I said "Oh shit"...
Julie: I think I was screaming "Holy God almighty"...
Deb: I think I was saying "Camera, Camera!"
Twitterstream: All hell is breaking loose in downtown denver
Steph: I stopped the car. The motorcycles zoomed past. And then a cop car and several vans pulled up on the sidewalk to get around us, going about 50 miles an hour. We were heading to our exit to get to the hotel and then we saw...
Twitterstream: An army of police coming down capitol steps more riot police
Deb: They were streaming out of there like carpenter ants. And then we saw more vans coming by and they were whizzing by so fast and so close that...
Julie: The Taurus minivan shook.
Donna: And then the Suburban in front of us stopped, switched on its hazard lamps and its driver got out and grabbed some camera equipment out of the back.
Twitterstream: We're stuck while the storm troopers March by
Deb: So I had one foot on the passenger seat and one foot on the open window and I was taking pictures out of the car with Steph's camera. But then I noticed these guys in a green SUV kind of smirking at me and I realized they might be looking up my skirt, so I got down.
Then I grabbed my heels, and did a lap around the car, ending at Stephanie's driver side door and insisted that she take the camera.
Twitterstream: deb and steph changing places so steph can photo this
Steph: I untangled myself from the seat belt, grabbed the camera, threw open the back door and shouted to Julie to move over.
Julie: Which I did. Post haste.
Steph: I still couldn't see anything.
Julie: The next thing I knew, we were hanging out the windows, frustrated we couldn't get the pictures we wanted.
Steph: And I shouted, dammit, I need a sunroof.
Julie: Since we don't have a sunroof, maybe we need to get on top of the car. And we got out of the car, looked at the roof, and I don't even remember a conversation. We looked at each other and boom! We were running down the street. We both realized we would have to get in there if we were to get what we wanted.
Twitterstream: @lawyermama and @juliepippert are out of car and in rickshaw
Julie: I don't know what the rickshaw is!
Deb: You and Steph were out of the car and she had climbed on the fucking rickshaw!
Julie: You climbed up on the rickshaw and I ran into the crowd further down the street. And that's when I was taking as many pictures as I could of the police and the protesters and the crowd. And then I realized I was surrounded by young men with bandannas around their faces, like desperados.
And then, one started yelling "What are you protesting?" And another one yelled "CAPITALISM!" and they kept repeating it. And then a few more voices added in on that and then they split up and started going around to other groups of people. And I thought it was like guerrilla protest tactics. They were moving through the crowd, getting everyone all riled up.
Steph: I could see the action was happening a little further off, so I hopped off the pedicab and ran into the crowd after Julie.
Twitterstream: Everyone is running away. But we can't see our girls
Julie: I was standing on the ledge by the vents on the building and then all of a sudden, someone started yelling something and I couldn't tell if it was "run" or "bomb," but everyone kind of freaked and it was like a stampede away from the building.
Donna: We couldn't see Steph and Julie, and Debbie was afraid they were going to get hurt. We wanted to follow them, but we couldn't leave the car. And we couldn't easily move it, either - not with that Suburban blocking us and more cops going by on our side. And this was frustrating Deb.
Deb: I just melted and turned into a pile of girl goo.
Twitterstream: State troopers making us leave
Donna: Deb tried to tell the cops that we were trying to find Steph and Julie, but they didn't want to hear it.
Twitterstream: We had to move. At a lot on 14th & court. Can't find our girls. They may have run out w/o phones
Donna: I tried to call Julie and Steph to tell them where to find us, but there was no answer. And now even I was concerned. I didn't think they were in danger, but I hated to think that they wouldn't be able to find us. And Deb isn't one to just sit and wait. She likes to take action.
Twitterstream: Now deb is talking to a cop to try to get help finding them. He has other concerns I'm sure
Deb: He was like, don't worry about it. Your friends are fine. He explained that they would get funneled out if they were stuck in there. And here's the classic part. They would be ID'd. Unless they were doing something illegal. They weren't doing anything illegal were they?
And I told them they didn't have their ID's. And he said, "We have ways to ID them." Through his scary Darth Vader gas mask.
Twitterstream: We think they are ok. Cop doesn't think we need to worry
Deb: The officer said we could walk back, so I got Donna and we walked back.
Twitterstream: We are back near the spot where we lost the girls. Definite residue of tear gas
Deb: A woman with a New York Times press pass was guarding the Suburban that had been blocking us earlier. I ran up to her and asked if she had seen our friends, but the answer was no. So I just started walking through the crowd, further and further into it. And I started feeling distraught.
Twitterstream: Crowd is chanting let them go, let them go!
Donna: Now I was all alone, holding the keys to the minivan. I started chatting with the New York Times reporter. She told me she'd heard there had been 100 arrests.
Twitterstream: Told 100 people have been arrested
Deb: I kept wandering in concentric maneuvers, widening it. And all of a sudden, I saw them in the crowd! I ran to them and said I love you. And then, why the hell did you do that?
Deb found them. Going back to talk with nice new York times reporter
Julie: What's left out here, while you guys were parking the car and stuff, that's when stuff happened. That's when people were arrested. And that's when Steph talked to the legal aid guy.
Steph: The protesters were calling the police terrorists. And Julie was correcting their language usage, saying "You don't mean terrorist. You mean fascist." And then when they were chanting, "We want Justice, We want Justice" - she said "You mean freedom of Speech. And Assembly."
Julie: And I probably said something about kids today - deterioration of the educational system.
Twitterstream: Steph is talking to legal observers while news crew eavesdrops
Donna: CNN was totally trying to bogart Steph's interview. Julie kept coming back to me with information she was getting from him, such as the fact that the crowd had been pepper sprayed, not tear gassed. And that there were only three arrests made, not 100. And that the legal aid guy, who had years of experience with this sort of thing, had predicted the civil disturbances would get worse before the week is up.