The Republican version of democracy

September 6, 2008

from Muttering Jam:

Courtesy of Free Press.net:


RNC finale: Unprecedented police riot against peaceful protesters & journalists

September 5, 2008

from Twin Cities Indymedia:

The jail vigil needs more support. Perhaps the National Guard will finally go away?

We @ TC-IMC are all pretty tired, but everyone – including our friends from out of town – are all safe and accounted for, though some still face charges. Of course, the Republicans couldn’t end their eight-year reign of state terrorism without dumping it all over our fair cities – beginning with the Friday night Convergence Center raid, the thundering Saturday raids, the Monday journalist beatdowns, the Tuesday concussion grenades, the intentional bottling up of the RATM fans on Wednesday night, and finally on Thursday night, a big stupid fracas instigated wholly by the police for no particular reason.

On Thursday night, parents across the Twin Cities are incensed that their peaceful children have been detained on totally spurious charges, fabricated to justify the concussion grenades, tear gas and pepper spray, thrown around like this state has never seen. There weren’t hordes of window-breakers, just lots of people who got stiffed on getting damn protest permits (who the hell was running that system? Sure you’ll get a medal.)

Fortunately for decent folk, it appears they went way too far: even Tom Lyden on Fox9 said that it was like a police state, and after playing clips of massive, unwarranted pepper spraying, he concluded his segment by saying that they’d be looking into a blue ribbon panel to see what the hell happened. When you’ve lost Fox News on the final night of the RNC…. well, some things just can’t be spun.

Legal observers on-scene were incensed that they were directed to move to safety in one direction, then they themselves got arrested. The police couldn’t control their horses, which shit all over the place.

Kare11′s cameraman got arrested (has been released), WCCO’s cameraman Tom Aviles got arrested, Pioneer Press’ Ben Garvin got detained for two hours and shot one hell of a video. In particular, the WCCO footage is possibly the strongest we’ve yet seen from a corporate source!
Are we really seeing this? http://wcco.com/video/?id=47039@wcco.dayport.com
Pioneer Press’ Ben Garvin http://www.twincities.com/video?bcpid=1653590799&bclid=1755456983&bctid=…
PioPress http://www.twincities.com/rnc/ci_10385049
Uptake’s Susan gets detained http://the-uptake.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/725/
More: http://flickr.com/photos/theuptake/
Tony Webster’s response to the police chief’s email to him: http://wtf.mn/u/a602a5

Meanwhile Code Pink managed to mess up John McCain’s whole speech via some banners. Way to go! That’s it for now – we need to rest.
Tomorrow Mayor Coleman will have to answer for the abused journalists, the hordes of arrested demonstrators, the edgy mess of a town we’ve got. A week from now, it’ll feel like some strange dream, a hangover from the new world order/police state that awaits us, if this kind of madness is not stopped once and for all.


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


Report: Massive, warrantless raids on peace protesters in Minneapolis, ahead of RNC.

September 1, 2008

from BoingBoing:

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.

full post


Police state Minneapolis

September 1, 2008

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.


Urgent: Stand Against Police Repression in the Twin Cities! Defend Freedom of Speech and Assembly! Sign the Petition

August 31, 2008

Urgent!

Defend Freedom of Speech and Assembly!

Stand Against Police Repression!

Sign the petition at: http://www.troopsoutnow.org/rnc08protestrights.shtml

Dear Friends,

As we write, thousands of activists are gathering in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul in preparation for a week of protest during the Republican National Convention.

Over the past three days, these activists have been targets of police raids, brutality, and media distortion. Salon reports, “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.” (from http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/30/police_raids/index.html)

These arrests, days before the beginning of the Republican National Convention, are an attempt to undercut turn-out at the legally permitted anti-war rally planned for Monday, Sept. 1, organized by March on RNC Coalition. The event, which is expected to be massive, 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 that have been planned by hundreds of justice and anti-war organizations for more than a year.

It is more important than ever, in the face of the outrageous harassment and illegal arrests, to support ALL the protesters in St Paul this week.

Take a minute and send a message in support – go to http://www.troopsoutnow.org/rnc08protestrights.shtml.

Police have claimed that protesters intend to engage in acts of violence, but the only criminal and violent acts taking place in the Twin Cities are those being committed by the Ramsey County sheriff’s office and the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments. The illegal and excessive raids, conducted by SWAT teams armed with automatic weapons; the mass preemptive roundups of dissenters; and the attempt to label all protesters as criminals are tactics clearly intended to silence protest. We will not be deterred or intimidated by these tactics.

Please join us in standing up to Bush-McCain-RNC police state tactics. A delegation of Troops Out Now Coalition activists is in Minneapolis-St. Paul and will be participating in the many protests during the week of Sept. 1-4. If you are in the area, please join us–look for Troops Out Now Coalition banners and placards.

Whether you are able to join us in the streets or not, you can still stand with us against police repression. Please sign the petition at http://www.troopsoutnow.org/rnc08protestrights.shtml.

Demand: Stop Illegal Raids and Arrests! Protest is not a crime!

TEXT OF PETITION

Please add your name at http://www.troopsoutnow.org/rnc08protestrights.shtml

Minneapolis-St. Paul Police: Stop Illegal Raids and Arrests!

Release the Arrestees and Drop the Phony charges!

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.

The Aug. 29 and 30 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, are an attempt to undercut turn-out at the legally permitted anti-war rally planned for Monday, Sept. 1, organized by March on RNC Coalition. The rally, which is expected to be massive, 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 that have been planned by hundreds of justice and anti-war organizations for more than a year.

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 Guantánamo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib.

People have a right to protest at the RNC. We support and will defend that right.

Sign the petition at http://www.troopsoutnow.org/rnc08protestrights.shtml


Illegal Police Raid on Anti-RNC Convergence Space in St. Paul

August 30, 2008

from Twin Cities Indymedia:

[TC-IMC Update 2 AM - Web media takes notice: TC Daily Planet: Police break down doors in night-time raid on anarchist meeting, Minnesota Independent: Rumors circulating of possible police sweeps in Minneapolis this weekend]

At 9:15 Friday night, the Saint Paul Police entered all doors of the RNC Convergence Space in St. Paul, MN with guns drawn. The Space serves as a community center and organizing space for the upcoming protests against the Republican National Convention. At the time of the raid, people were sitting down to dinner and watching a movie.

The police presented no warrant at the time of the raid, but claim that they have a warrant to search the space for “bomb-making” materials. No “bomb-making” materials were found. Rather, the police barked orders for everyone, including a 5 year old child, to get on the floor with their faces to the ground. Everyone inside was put in handcuffs.

In the hours following, the police photographed everyone inside the space and recorded information from their Identification cards. The police took all personal laptops and hard drives.


More police raids on Saturday morning – same warrants used as last night

August 30, 2008

from Twin Cities Indymedia:

UPDATE 9:15 AM: From the WC: Three house raids occurring: 2301 23rd Ave. S., 3500 Harriet Avenue, 3240 17th Ave. S. Lawyers and legal observers at each scene.

UPDATE 8:52 AM: 3500 Harriet Avenue MPLS has just been raided by police according to a reliable source.

We are receiving credible reports (just confirmed again) that a house helping with food (Food Not Bombs) has been raided by the police, and possibly another house as well. NLG attorneys are on the way to these houses, and we have heard that the police are using the same search warrants as they did last night.

There will be a press conference @ Harriet Island at 10 A.M. by the flagpole. We have received a report that anti-police brutality activists had their garage broken into:

Last night, CUAPB president Michelle Gross and CUABP vice president Darryl Robinson were among many people detained during the convergence space raid. Upon returning home after the raid, they found their garage and Darryl’s car had been broken into. Nothing of value was taken but boxes of documents were clearly opened and gone through and many items were moved around. The activists believe strongly this invasion of their privacy is a direct result of their work and that it was probable that it occurred while they were at the convergence space. Despite this action and their detention at the convergence space, both activists remain committed to continuing their work through Communities United Against Police Brutality, including copwatch at events throughout the RNC.

We have also heard that the convergence space raid was carried out by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office, not the St. Paul police, and local City Council member Dave Thune was on the scene. Reportedly Thune said that the county had no authority to try to shut down the convergence center on the basis of a fire code violation.

Fresh video from the streets: Submedia Video has put together a new video – 7 minutes.


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