Police Crack Down On Burning Man, Unprecedented Show Of Force

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One of the most peaceful and long running festivals in the country is under attack by police, with early arrivals experiencing a show of force like they have never seen before

An image of the sculpture “Exsuscitare Traiectus” by Orion Fredericks, at the Burning Man festival 2011, at dawn. Festival attendees are gathered around the structure and are within the central ring of the sculpture. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

An image of the sculpture “Exsuscitare Traiectus” by Orion Fredericks, at the Burning Man festival 2011, at dawn. Festival attendees are gathered around the structure and are within the central ring of the sculpture. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Burning man and other similar art and music festivals generally have very peaceful and safe endings.  The most common dangers with any of these events is the fact that police like to target the people who attend them.

In recent years as the drug war police state has escalated, they have become more aggressive with these events, setting up illegal checkpoints, illegally entering onto private property without permission and senselessly using violence or threats of violence against nonviolent people.

Aaron Muzslaski, a Burning Man regular made the following post yesterday:

The pigs are here. And uncommonly badge heavy. Earlier tonight, the #BLM pulled over El Couchino for a registration violation. In 18 years on the playa, I’ve never seen a more aggressive police presence than what’s been going down today. Deeply upsetting, outrageous stuff. One DPW member was issued a $275 ticket for urinating on the playa, and threatened with being forced to register as a convicted sex offender. (a note for people not familiar with Burning Man, the “Playa” is what Burning Man attendees or “Burners” call the land that this event is held on.) I suspect this is fallout from the lawsuit BMORG won against the BLM earlier this year. Whatever the cause, know this: Law enforcement is going to be VERY AGGRESSIVE at Burning Man this year. Keep your shit as right as you do back in the world. Don’t give them any excuses. Be extremely cautious, and MAKE SURE TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Things are changing. #BM2013 #LEO #police IF YOU DO GET STOPPED: Make sure to file an incident report with Burning Man. And before you get here, LEARN YOUR RIGHTS. [1]

In response to this unprecedented show of force, volunteers and workers nearby are calling for a general strike, with some of them organizing and refusing to set up the festival until the police promise to keep off the playa and let the Burning Man crew handle security inside the event.

In a recent interview a spokesperson for the group “Reform In Our Time” said that:

“Our demands are simple: We want law enforcement excluded….. The problem is a huge growth in outside law enforcement officers invading the playa, not the money it costs. We would really appreciate them if they stayed outside and only came in when we really wanted them to.

If the cops would leave their badges and guns at home and just be burners like everyone else in BRC, we’d welcome them just like we welcome anyone else. We’d even build them a Donut Camp!  We’re not against cops necessarily, we just don’t want outsiders doing law enforcement in our city. We have everything we need to take care of it ourselves without any outside help!”[2]

Last week at a conscious music and arts gathering in Ohio called “Rootwire” police invaded the property and arrested or fined 80 people for nonviolent crimes.[3]

Sources:

[1] Dispatch from Black Rock City: “The pigs are here” at Burning Man –BoingBoing

[2] Busting Man: RIOT Calls for General Strike at Burning Man – Burners.me

[3] 80 visitors to Rootwire Music Festival charged Logan Daily

Writer Bio:

VibesJG Vibes is an Intellihub.com investigative journalist and staff writer. He is also the author of “Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance”, an 87 chapter e-book and is an artist with an established record label. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/trish.house1 Trish House

    We MUST demand land reform and insist that it is the birthright of each one of us to a free and fair share of the land and natural resources we need to make ourselves self sustaining. Only when the people have an inviolate right to these things will we be secure enough to manifest power. Without a dependence on corporate jobs for our survival we will be able to say NO to the police and war jobs, to the Montsanto jobs and slave, drudgery jobs, the government handouts that are inadequate to maintain a decent life.

    Russia has free plots of land of 2 or more acres for anyone that wants to grow their own food supply. We must insist that that happens here if we want to be truly free people on our own land. http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/in-1999-35-million-small-family-plots-produced-90-of-russias-potatoes-77-of-vegetables-87-of-fruits-59-of-meat-49-of-milk-way-to-go-people/

    • https://www.facebook.com/whyte.stan Stan Whyte

      Please, stop believing Russia Today channel. You can not get any land at all in Russia without paying for it. Standard cottage size land is 1.48263 acres. You can have tiny backyard and a small house on this land. You can not feed a single person from such plantation. Also, for the price of land near Moscow you can feed yourself from Whole Foods for entire life!

  • mike robins

    it has begun. the first to be tagged, and eventually bagged in pre WWII Germany were the ‘fringe’ thinkers…we are being herded into database corrals…just listen to the tone of the burner posting in the article…appease the cops , make yourself small, don’t be ‘seen’…we are in very big trouble. we are the lobsters being boiled with the water temp being turned up ever so slowly…

  • deneicy

    Interesting blog at antiwar.com by Justin Raimondo re President Obama’s “review board” to “supposedly reassure his critics there really is no domestic spying program: the goal, as he put it, would be to strike a “balance” between civil liberties and the safety of all Americans. ”

    Most cocern about the appointment of former “Cass Sunstein, a very close friend and confidant of the President. Sunstein formerly headed up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: now a Harvard law professor, he has made something of a name for himself as an outspoken advocate of government spying. Being one of those really highbrow types, he calls it “cognitive infiltration.” Sunstein wants paid government agents to penetrate ostensibly subversive “conspiracy minded” social networks: in other words, he wants to set up a police state system of government spies and provocateurs.”

    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/08/22/yes-black-is-the-new-transparency/

  • https://www.facebook.com/heathen.ways Sahm Wan

    you dont boil a lobster by “slowly turning up the heat” you cook a frog that way, you toss a lobster in when its full boil. and leave it there for a bout 12 mins.

    • Cynjy gladstone

      So true! You’re funny.

    • Welkom2012

      gehe :)

  • Nikole

    I am not a criminal and find myself teaching my child that the police are the bad guys. I think ‘The People’ of our country are in deep trouble. We fear the people we pay to help us. We created a mess and we have to figure out how to fix it.

    • Zach

      I think the answer is in ending corporate personhood: movetoamend.org

  • https://www.facebook.com/StevenCDiPietro Steven C. Di Pietro

    Guess who dosn’t vote Republican…….

    • Hooty Hootowl

      Vote Green. Democraps suck as much as Repulicants,

  • Dan Burr

    I guess they don’t realize the trail of money leading in and out of BM that is left each year. Move the whole thing and cut them off. Money talks.

  • FlagstaffThinking

    Uhhmm. Hello, Steven C. Di Pietro — the law enforcement is not operating under Republican rule… It’s Democrats.

  • SCOTTY

    BECOMING ROBOTS!

  • vicki johnson

    JOIN ME in an e-mail campaign to the local law enforcement voicing our concerns for their trespass and aggression to this peaceful event! Hit up the FB pages, all the agencies and any other place that will listen….my kid is there and this isn’t what she went for!

    “The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office will be held accountable by the people of the county for maintaining the highest standards of the community. We will treat all people with respect, fairness and compassion.”

    Lets hold them responsible!
    Pershing County
    Sheriff Richard Machado
    Phone: (775) 273-5111
    Email: [email protected]

    The local News contacts;

    http://www.rgj.com/section/customerservice02

  • Daniel

    don’t leave the playa a mess when you leave, please?

    • Eric White

      This has NEVER been the case..

      • Vance

        No,the playa is always clean when they leave, but State Route 447 is a mess. Trash everywhere, blowing all over the desert.

  • Whatever

    Your solution is to actually ask the people abusing and kidnapping people to put them in cages is to email them and say you’re mad? LOL. Yeah I’m sure that’ll work. How well has this “non-violent civil work-within-the-system” movement worked the last 30 years? Can we finally acknowledge that politely asking the gang bangers with a badge to stop rape, murder, rob and beat us to stop raping, murdering, robbing and beating us is NOT working?

    • Meh

      Thank you.

  • Carl Stone

    I see lots of post about this being a peaceful event… problem is that it is not as peaceful as one would assume… every year there are fights, people stealing things that do not belong to them, all kinds of problems. The worst problem is Rape, and not of the land, of the women. Call this what you want, but even in an apparent Utopian Society, there is a need for Rules.. That is, unfortunately, why the police are out there.. and with this years supposed record number of attendees, 69000 tickets sold (oh at what $300 plus per person, do the math) they also need a large police force.. Just saying..

    • ianw

      Retard…..any city full of fifty thousand plus people for over a week is bound to have problems.

    • http://gravatar.com/davest010 David

      Are you really so sure that it’s worse at BM than in comparably sized cities? I’d love to see your research backing that up.

    • Galaxia Gush

      Who fed you that bullshit?? Or did you just walk up and suck it up?
      The Black Rock Rangers are well trained and quell situations quickly.
      These overzealous control freaks hide behind their guns, as we know cops are just gangs funded by our taxes. They are in personal and county contests to see who “got ” the most tickets written. COP=Citizens On Patrol and that is what the Black Rock Rangers are.

      • https://www.facebook.com/mark.choi.165 Mark Choi

        NONE of what you said was every REMOTELY close to what he wrote. IF you are going to post straw man arguments, at least do so far enough removed that you have a chance of not looking like a liar.

        • https://www.facebook.com/mark.choi.165 Mark Choi

          Comment system attached this to the wrong post.

  • Kitt

    @Carl Stone – you have links with verifiable documentation of theft, rape, fights at Burning Man?

    • PennyRex

      Pretty east to google and see that it does happen. If you think it doesn’t; you are living in a fantasy.

      • Kitt

        Pretty easy to see that what does happen? I’m not “living in a fantasy” I’m asking “Carl Stone to back up his claim. Which was, if you look at the wording, rampant rape. As if there is no Security provided at Burning Man besides ‘Official Gangster Police forces’ who are not wanted on premise.

        “The worst problem is Rape, and not of the land, of the women. Call this what you want, but even in an apparent Utopian Society, there is a need for Rules.”

        Provide a reputable link that “the worst problem” at Burning Man is rape, and that there is no on location Security, or you’re talking puke.

  • Dckn

    public nudity and open use of drugs ??????, bring in the Air Force…a couple of napalm will take care of the whole ordeal in like 3 min.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Galaxia

      You need some sedatives and to get laid in this lifetime.
      Come to the Brothel and have a freebie on me. Phew – dude.

  • https://www.facebook.com/lumag Remy Chevalier

    Move Burning Man to the Salton Sea!

    • Eric White

      Or move burning man to THE sea! Burner Patri Friedman started http://www.seasteading.org and part of it was for this exact reason

  • http://pollyannaponderings.tumblr.com/ PLURall

    Communicating our dissent hasn’t worked because YOU and others haven’t worked it along with those few who have. Our strength is in our numbers, not in our divided words and actions.

  • http://mises.org murry n rothbard

    U guys seem coool, except.for that cop who posted, but even hea shoukdbread ROTHBARD, he wrote a cool.book called ethics of libertyliberty, it seems BM hashas strivedstrived towards those higget goals and lived them, but youbcant run from the state, where every u go the state will follow you, because an affront to statism anywhere is an affront to statism everywhere. Free people must be enslaved by a state, leaspeoplet the people see the degree of therebsuffering and revoltrevolt

  • 1320man

    I love Aaron Muzslaski’s comment that ” We would really appreciate them if they stayed outside and only came in when we really wanted them to.” It’s kind of like, leave us alone to get as crazy as we want and if things get out of control we will expect you to come running to protect us. Typical attitude of a dope head.

    • ianw

      except burning man consists of some of the brightest and intelligent minds in america. Not a hippie dope head festival by any stretch.

  • https://www.facebook.com/michae.thompson ミク トンプソン

    The best solution here is to place your off duty (out of uniform) officers from other counties and maybe a local, in line of sight on security detail to deal with the cops who are looking for trouble.

  • a. guy

    non aggression principle

  • vhria

    Rothbury or electric forest has the beam type vibe without. this police nonsense

  • trigger

    I have never been to burning man and I most likely will never go, just not my thing to be around a bunch of people in the dust and dirt not to mention people using drugs it would make me uncomfortable so I dont go. But this police bullshit needs to be stopped they think they are above the law and make up the rules as they go. They are the best armed “gang” in the country and are not to be trusted.

    • Galaxia

      Trigger, Go. the “man” has pushed the drugs and nudity ting way out of proportion to get 8 million of the 13 taken in by ticket sales. Imagine how much more innovation and artwork could be created if the backed off. What is needed is medical air flights Reno when real problem occur, like heart attacks. Police should not go trumping up situations. I know when you go you will find it wonderful, don’t listen to the people who have never attended, go see for yourself then post your findings.

  • simon moon

    Just another facet of how insane humanity has become. I’m beginning to think Tony Wright is right when he claims he has evidence that humanity is literally suffering from species wide brain damage. No other explanation makes sense.

  • Dan Schulte

    Didn’t anybody notice the police upping their standard issue gear to include insane kevlar body suits and tanks the last 30 years. What did you think it was for? Who manufactured that gear and who sold it? Who paid for it?

    • https://www.facebook.com/michae.thompson ミク トンプソン

      The Military has surplus Gen-1, Gen-2, and Gen-3 military equipment. That equipment is placed on bid for civilians and local municipalities to purchase.

    • Mr Focus

      The taxpayers paid for it, private industry manufactured it. The Reichties are happy because it’s being used against the lefties.

      Just like Egypt.

  • http://www.fontainsmuse.org gypsy fontain

    MOVE BURNING MAN TO CALIFORNIA!

  • Bob Hope

    Somebody just needs to sit in the hills with a .50 cal and pick off the cops.

  • Mr Focus

    How heavy is the law enforcement presence at this event?

    http://www.westernhunter.com/Pages/Vol07Issue02/machinegun.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/ron.rafferty.18 Ron Rafferty

    This is global folks. Increased force is messaging us they are fraught with fear. Uniformed “servants”, armed and willing to bypass any semblance of law, is a reaction manifest by their bosses being cornered and disempowered. Perhaps it’s high time the brilliantly Burning Minds investigate the cause – done quietly for all humans to free us from near-invisible slavery by Commerce – to which even the Vatican has responded. Perhaps the society of free-thinkers would do our world a huge favor by learning the “tools” present and awaiting use. I think the Spirit creating BM and all such festivals of resistance would attune quickly to this event and move the People forward out of the dark illusion of Control. Read and research up on this at iuv.com….please my brethren…we ARE the true power.

  • Fed Up

    Ya fukin trash the place, stay high as a kite, most of you clowns probably have never paid a tax in your lives, but hey whatever, naked and high is no way to go through life

    • Naijshua

      Seriously? People like yourself are what is wrong with this world. Personally, I have never been to burning man but i Do know people who go. These people do have jobs, Some are engineers, lawyers, and artist. While others, own businesses or work some trade. It’s easy for you to amke a generalization because it’s small minded. You may have distaste for the people who attend this event but you’re the problem.

  • Craig Junior

    Come on guys, the police has the right to do this. So what if they crack a few hippies smoking dope in the head. They should not be using highly dangerous drugs such as marijuana. The marijuana is more dangerous then the cops. If i had it my way this would have SWAT teams and TSA guarding this. God bless these cops because these people are getting high on dope and other drugs. Nothing these cops can do should be considered excessive because they risk dying from second hand marijuana smoke. All I can say is end the new hippie movement because these kids don’t know what they are talking about but what do I know, Im just a concerned citizen.

  • Laura

    interesting, maybe now ‘burners’ will know what many communities face on a daily basis, and best case scenario is we find more burners at the political protests fighting for our rights, instead of complaining about it when the repression finally finds its way to their backward bbq. just sayin, welcome to the fight.

  • http://twitter.com/atom1cx atom1c x (@atom1cx)

    Note to criminals beyond the outside perimeters of the Playa: have at it! The cops are too busy sniffing their own butts to keep other areas well guarded.

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  • Jeff Spicoli

    Eh. Burning Man sold out, and is only for rich kids.

    Long live hitchhiking and traveling on your own merits, not Burning Man giving you freedom.

  • Mike

    That’s so sad… There was some cops and other government environmental people there in very small numbers when we were there. They didn’t threaten us or anyone we saw. They are looking in the wrong place, no one goes there to fight or cause trouble. What a stupid waste of resources. BM is ages from any major city… Def small dick syndrome I bet half of them just wanna strip off put on a tutu and take off into the sunset on a purple unicorn bicycle!

  • lue
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  • http://www.bikehound.co.uk www.bikehound.co.uk

    Move Burning Man to Scotland! Plenty of open space out here and sensible policing.

  • Rantu

    The Event has morphed from an authentic creative and spontaneous expression of freedom to an overpopulated “bucket list” thing to do. This is what happens to all authentic events and places when they get too popular. The spirit changes. So the police issue is one of the things that occurs as the event and the phenomenon degrades.

  • https://www.facebook.com/parks.bowman Bill Bowman

    Your personal information is being gathered as we speak. Give it up, kids. The Illuminati is watching. Let ‘em have it.

  • http://twitter.com/abacor Last Resort (@abacor)

    I wish the dipshits on here who are as upset about this non-issue, would be that involved in reality and the nation’s civic government.

  • Pete

    This is the evolution of every great event ever done in perhaps the history of mankind. It is the Ying and Yang of the balance of all things. A thing is born out of thought or desire it lives, evolves, grows, sees its middle age then becomes older, less flexible and tolerant and dies. Its death is lamented and mourned and out of that at some future time is born again . . New, excited, with new found energy, and a few elderly Burners who are responsible for telling the stories of their youth and middle age to pass the spark on to the next generation. Every great event becomes a commercial concern to one degree or another as it evolves. The freedoms of its youth become twisted in it older life. Consider the increased law enforcement present this year at Burning Man, right on schedule I’m thinking. May be time to start thinking of a new evolution, a new place, a new start. The Change of the timber in the voices that speak out today is showing the age of frustration is upon us once again. Burners, fellow travelers, we are on the edge a leap of evolution once again. You may choose to be part of the evolution or become a part of the path it rolls along.

  • graham

    Don’t they say, “You live in a Free country “, Of course you do, as long as you do as you are told.