By Caitlin Hall
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Former UA student Yusuke Banno, 21, was arraigned Monday on charges stemming from a confrontation with New York City police outside the Republican National Convention on Sunday. Though Banno is not being charged with arson, the events leading to his arrest occurred shortly after the green dragon papier-mâché Banno and others were leading through midtown Manhattan was set on fire, prompting protesters to flee.
The green dragon float was the brainchild of a New York City-based activist group, Greene Dragon. According to Newsday, the group has come under police scrutiny of late for possible connections to violent political protest. It was reported by the New York Daily News that the group had been infiltrated by undercover detectives from the New York Police Department in the months leading up to Sunday's incident and that several of its members had been identified as making "direct threats of violence against the city."
In statements to New York's Village Voice, "General" Jonny American, one of the founders and organizers of the group, described Greene Dragon's purpose as "(taking) democracy back from the corporations and (giving) it to the people." The group additionally identified itself as "a fun and freewheeling independence movement from President-Select George II and his corporate monarchy."
The group is named for the Green Dragon, a pub that once stood in Boston. The pub was the meeting place of many American revolutionaries, including John and Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. Prior to the Revolutionary War, the Boston Tea Party was planned on the premises of the Green Dragon, and when Paul Revere took his famous midnight ride, he started out at the pub. The pub is frequently called the "Headquarters of the American Revolution," and its name has taken on symbolic significance for modern-day activists who vehemently oppose the actions of the federal government.