Sign the petition: Tell John McCain, the RNC, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Police
- STOP the Illegal Raids!
- Release All Arrestees and Drop the Charges!
Mass arrests by riot police at RNC, youth in wheelchair doused in pepper spray while trying to move out of the way of police on horseback. Democracy Now! journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous arrested, legal observers and medics denied access.
Shot by Independent Voices producers Morgan Diamond and Elena Everett
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Amy Goodman is just one of many who have been arrested.
Meanwhile, Chris Matthews is inside the hall, jabbering about “the game.”
A post on the Minnesota Independent has a link to ColdSnapLegal’s invaluable twitter, which shows a detailed breakdown of prior incidents involving police and protesters that have been happening throughout the day. The twitter shows a report of Democracy Now! journalists being arrested and includes Amy Goodman.
Except from the here:
Journalists and medics along with protesters are being pepper sprayed and gassed as riot police show no respect for Americans’ constitutional right to practice civic freedom.
Rubber bullets are being used on protesters.
Squad cars are driving into crowds and dispersing them.
Ramsey City Jail is on lockdown refusing arrestees or detainees access to lawyers and St. Joseph Hospital is on lockdown denying arrestees or detainees water.
Members of I-Witness Video, a group that, according to their website, “uses video to protect civil liberties” and “probe police actions at First Amendment events” have been victim of “preemptive video arrest.”
A comment on a DailyKos post titled, “UPDATE: Rubber Bullets, Water Cannons, Pepper Spray, Tear Gas in St. Paul,” explains how I-Witness is being put under house arrest and facing threats of seizure of their computers and video cameras because of their success in exposing police misconduct during the 2004 Republican National Convention.
Police, National Guard, fire tear gas into protest group
Local police and Minnesota National Guard units are using a combination of pepper spray, concussion grenades and tear gas on a group of breakaway protesters gathered on Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul. The group of about 150 protesters, many thought to be with the group “Funk the War,” had been blocking traffic for much of the afternoon.
At least one person — a young man wearing a gas mask, no shirt and a backpack — was taken into custody. He lay down on the street as a group of officers surrounded him and took him away.
Police also escorted a group of 17 mostly black-clad youth across the Robert St. Bridge in an apparent effort to get them out of downtown.
Rubber bullets were fired into a crowd at Seventh and Robert Streets. At Seventh and Jackson, police have more than a dozen people in a parking lot as police handcuff them. Police continued to spray the crowd with pepper spray. More details are to come. full story
from Democracy Now!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2008
Denis Moynihan 917-549-5000
Mike Burke 646-552-5107, firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested
in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time.
Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested
her. Video of her arrest can be seen here:
Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now!
producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous
and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they
carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at
the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been
defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous
and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are
currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.
Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to
call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and
demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These
calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at
651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension
Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns
this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the
freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.
During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement
officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and
excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.
Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected
journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for
her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage.
The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt
to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news
Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program
that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.
Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest:
Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com reports that protesters in Minneapolis, where the Republican National Convention will soon begin, have been subjected to massive, pre-emptive police raids. Those arrested include members of Food not Bombs, and a group calling itself the “RNC Welcoming Committee,” and a group that uses video to protect civil liberties by documenting police activity at first amendment events.
Despite the big-name cancellations and the preconvention police raids, organizers expect thousands of anti-war demonstrators to march this afternoon from the State Capitol to the site of the Republican National Convention.
They say their passion will not be dampened now that President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are skipping their convention speeches because of Hurricane Gustav. If anything, they say, the storm enhances their message that investing in human needs must outweigh waging an expensive war.
But the protesters are also concerned that aggressive police tactics could cull their numbers, which they estimate could reach 50,000 today.
“Even if the two main actors in the U.S. war in Iraq won’t be there, that will not deter people from sending a loud message to the Republican Party and the country that we need to use our resources on human needs and saving people at home, not killing them abroad,” said Meredith Aby, a Minneapolis organizer working with a coalition of 130 anti-war groups, labor unions and community organizations to plan today’s march.
from Left I on the News:
The Republicans may be fleeing from Minneapolis as fast as they can now that they have a convenient excuse for doing so, but their police state remains behind. Numerous blogs and others are doing a great job covering what’s happening, but Glenn Greenwald (here and here) is probably the best place to go:
Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.Troops Out Now Coalition has an online petition demanding an end to these outrages.
As Greenwald writes, we heard an awful lot about Chinese suppression of protest in advance of and during the Olympics (although the suppression wasn’t so great that hardly a day passed when I didn’t see a Western reporter interviewing someone on the subject). Will the same corporate media, or any Democratic or Republican politician, have anything to say about American suppression of protesters? I’m sure we’ll all be shocked if they do.
from Politics in Minnesota:
A national anti-war activist group, the Troops Out Now Coalition, has set up an online petition drive in the wake of this weekend’s police raids and arrests of Republican National Convention protesters.
The petition accuses authorities of using “fear and intimidation” tactics and acting under orders from the RNC to raid three Minneapolis homes and the RNC Welcoming Committee’s “Convergence Center” in downtown St. Paul.
“Release the arrestees and drop the phony charges,” the petition, on the coalition’s website, reads. “I condemn the violent and illegal raids being carried out against activists assembling to protest at the Republican National Convention. I am opposed to any attempts to suppress dissent at the RNC, and I demand that anyone being held be released immediately, all phony charges dropped, and all property seized to be returned.
“Friday and Saturday’s raids on the Convergence Center and other locations were outrageous attacks on the rights of people to protest at the RNC. Dissent is not a crime.
“These arrests days before the beginning of the Republican National Convention were an attempt to undercut turnout at the expected massive, legally permitted, anti-war rally planned for Monday, September 1, organized by the March on RNC Coalition, which will gather at the State Capitol and march to the RNC Convention site. The police, acting on orders from the RNC, clearly intend to use tactics of fear and intimidation to impact the days of protest planned for over a year by hundreds of justice and anti-war organizations.
“The only group of people who have come to Minneapolis-St. Paul with criminal intent are the delegates, corporate lobbyists, and politicians who are participating in the Republican National Convention. They are conspiring to continue the illegal war in Iraq. They are conspiring to wage another illegal war against Iran. They are conspiring to steal money from working people and use it to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. They are conspiring to continue to violate basic human rights by engaging in illegal wiretapping, surveillance, and police brutality at home, while running torture camps such as those in Guantanamo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib.
“People have a right to protest at the RNC. I support and defend that right.”
Another site, Twin Cities Indymedia, reported Sunday evening that the National Lawyers Guild, a group of attorneys and law students based in New York, and Communities United Against Police Brutality, a Twin Cities organization, had filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against local police to prevent them from seizing video equipment and cellular phones used by independent media organizations.
The groups said examples of police interference with the right to document their conduct included the beating of CUAPB vice president Darryl Robinson while “copwatching,” the seizure of equipment of three journalists with Glass Bead Collective, and the targeting of journalists during a raid on a house in St. Paul Saturday afternoon.
“Another example is the action of Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies, who deliberately shut off CUAPB president Michelle Gross’ video camera while she was documenting Friday night’s raid from inside the convergence space,” the groups said. “This action prevented her from documenting the incident in its entirety. Despite their actions, Gross was able to capture about 7½ minutes of video and audio of the beginning of the raid, including use by deputies of a battering ram to force open the door to a upstairs theater where families were watching a film.”
Hennepin County Judge Mark Wernick has not yet acted on the request for the restraining order.
Police raids don’t deter antiwar event
ST. PAUL, Minn. | Organizers of a massive march at the Republican National Convention on Monday say the stage is set for their protest despite the convention’s scaled-back activities and a series of law enforcement raids seen by the groups as attempts to quell their right to free speech.
“Plans for tomorrow’s massive antiwar march are well in hand,” said Jess Sundin, a spokeswoman for the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War. “People will not let the RNC gather in St. Paul without a loud and clear response from us.”
The coalition’s protest will begin at 11 a.m. with a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol building and continue with a march past the Republican convention headquarters at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Organizers have said they expect as many as 50,000 people to participate. full article
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Republican National Convention protesters targeted in a series of police raids Friday night and Saturday say they won’t back down from their plans to march on the event’s opening day.
Story at MSNBC