80-plus arrested during DNC standoff; pepperspray deployed

A reported 80-plus protesters were hauled away following a tense standoff in which riot police blocked in several hundred protesters in downtown Denver and sprayed pepperball into the crowd.

The police, in full riot gear, staged a perimeter around the protesters, blocking them from entering the 16th Street Mall, near the Civic Center Park. Many of the activists, including antiwar activists, sat down in the street.

Police initially began to arrest individual activists in the crowd, according to an eyewitness. But the standoff ended when the cops relaxed their human blockade, releasing several hundred from the contained space.

Many in the crowd responded with loud cheers; however, in all a reported 80-plus have been arrested, according to the eyewitness. It is currently unclear what charges were issued. Many of the activists are in Denver to protest and raise awareness during the Democratic National Convention, which kicked off at the Pepsi Center on Monday night.

The standoff ended at about 8:30 p.m., just as DNC keynoter Michelle Obama, the wife of Barack Obama, was being introduced in the convention hall a mile-and-a-half away.

Stay tuned for details.

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