Disclaimer: I am not a drummer, nor a representative for the drummers.
I am a supporter of their right to use public space, an opponent of downtown gentrification, and one upset at the recent police seizure of the property of a homeless musician (Ricardo Lopez).
I have also myself been charged with singing politically charged songs downtown under the same law being used to intimidate and disperse the drummers (MC 9.36.020: Unreasonably Disturbing Noises). I go to trial with homeless drummer Robert "Blindbear" Facer on July 20th 10 AM in Dept. 10.
The Drum Circle, after having been driven away from its 15-year location in parking lot #4 under the trees next to the Farmer's Market, moved first to a smaller area on Cedar St. across from Jack's Restaurant last week.
Then it was forced to move again last week--under threat of citation from "citizen complaints" fielded by Sgt. Harms. It moved to the parking lot across from the Elm St. Mission and Cafe Pergolesi.
There Sgt. Harms again told the drummers that "nearby businesses" "were complaining". And that they would have to move and be ticketed if they returned this Wednesday.
Drum Circle Dave--who began a small drum circle back at the original location from which the Farmer's Market ousted them--last Thursday--called me today and told me he and others would be returning to drum again this Wednesday.
I believe the presence of the media and sympathetic witnesses last week kept the police at bay. I believe Dave would like to see a similar presence this week.
I also think the pressure on the Drum Circle is part of the general crackdown on homeless people and activists, the reactionary reduction of public spaces, the demonization of marijuana (banning new medical marijuana clinics), new city attorney initiatives against street performers, homeless sleepers, and those ignoring the absurd "sitting ban" citations downtown.
I encourage folks who enjoy drumming and value public assembly rights downtown to support the Drum Circle.
The Street Performers Guild will be meeting Saturday may 22nd at 5 PM at Louden Nelson Center. All performers and interested supporters are invited.
See earlier Drum Circle story at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/05/04/18646999.php?show_comments=1#18647220