The Republican version of democracy

September 6, 2008

from Muttering Jam:

Courtesy of Free Press.net:


Anti-war group calls for Fletcher’s resignation

September 6, 2008

rom TwinCities.com:

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Organizers of the anti-war march that ended with nearly 400 arrests Thursday called for the resignation of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher during a press conference outside St. Paul City Hall this afternoon.

The group also demanded an investigation of city officials’ handling of the “raid” on peaceful demonstrators during three and a half hours of marches, sit-ins and, finally, chaotic, tear gas-tainted skirmishes.

“People were arrested and brutalized for standing on bridges and chanting,” said Meredith Aby, an organizer for the anti-war marches on Monday and Thursday.

As in-your-face proof, march participant Mick Kelly lifted his shirt to expose a Frisbee-sized bruise on his left hip. He said he was shot with a rubber bullet as he tried to keep police from taking the group’s banner at Cedar and 12th streets.

Police deny any law enforcement possesses rubber bullets. Pepper balls and some shell casings can look like rubber bullets.

Much of the conflict between march organizers and police came from a misunderstanding about whether or not the group could move from the state Capitol to the Xcel Energy Center.

The group said it might not have had a permit to march after 5 p.m., but it believed that St. Paul police were going to allow them to take to the streets.

As the march began minutes before 5, St. Paul police told the crowd to disperse — it was unlawfully assembled.

Standoffs on the John Ireland and Cedar Street bridges leadinginto downtown ensued.

Anti-War Committee member Jessica Sundin called the move a bait-and-switch.

“It’s a set up,” she said, adding that fall-out from the confrontation should land on St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who allowed his city to be militarized.

“He and the council should take responsibility for the mess they created,” she said.

The group said numerous lawsuits are certain.

“I feel absolutely confident that lawsuits will be filed” at every level of government, said Dianne Mathiowetz with the Troops Out Now coalition.

When asked what police could have done differently Thursday night, Anti-War Committee member Katrina Plotz answered quickly.

“They needed to move out of our way and let us march,” she said. “They blatantly chose to do something else.”

Plotz said the “police repression” of anti-war protesters would backfire.

“The anti-war movement is just going to get bigger exponentially because of what we’ve seen here in the Twin Cities,” she said.

The group also countered claims by St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington that protesters planned to hurl Molotov cocktails once they reached the Xcel.

If there were such items in the march, why haven’t we seen them, the group asked.



Standoff on John Ireland Bridge ends (we’ll be back…)

September 4, 2008

from the Star Tribune:

Eric Thayer, Getty Images

A woman is taken into custody by police as activists take part in a rally at the State Capitol on Thursday afternoon.

Last update: September 4, 2008 – 6:29 PM

Dozens of police officers in riot gear and on horseback blocked about 500 people who had gathered for an anti-war protest on the final day of the Republican National Convention from crossing the John Ireland Boulevard bridge over I-94.

Leaders of the protest ended the standoff at 6 p.m., telling their group that they would take a different route to the Xcel Energy Center. The standoff lasted about an hour.

The group earlier rallied at the State Capitol, and started marching after their permit expired at 5 p.m. They attempted to make their way toward the Xcel, where delegates were arriving to hear John McCain’s acceptance speech.

more here

CHECK Twin Cities Indymedia , Coldsnap Twitter, RNC08announce & Tin Can Comms

for updates


Cops are targeting journalists for arrest

September 4, 2008

from Free Press:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: September 2, 2008
Contact: Craig Aaron, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x25

WASHINGTON — Today Free Press, the national, nonpartisan media reform group, called on St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and local law enforcement officials to drop all charges against all journalists arrested while covering protests outside the Republican National Convention. Those arrested Monday include Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and two producers from her show, as well as a photographer from the Associated Press. Other independent journalists have been pepper-sprayed and even held at gunpoint during “pre-emptive” raids aimed at disrupting protesters. This follows the arrest of an ABC News producer at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, made the following statement:

“We condemn the arrest and harassment of journalists before and during the Republican National Convention. We call on the mayor, district attorney and police chief to rein in the overly aggressive — and even violent — tactics of law enforcement. Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press. We call for the immediate release of any journalists being held in the Twin Cities and for all charges to be dropped immediately. Reporting by independent journalists is the only way for the American public to learn the full story, and they must be free to do their jobs without intimidation.”

more here


Cops were ‘spoiling for a fight’

September 4, 2008

from the Star Tribune:

As the city of St. Paul heads into one last day of convention hoopla — and one final day of protests — state civil liberties leaders have accused St. Paul police of making many improper arrests and in some cases, provoking more problems.

“I think some of the police on the street have been very aggressive physically,” said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota. “The phrase is ‘spoiling for a fight.'”

full story here


RNC 08 video

September 4, 2008

RNC Protest Day 3

September 4, 2008

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