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

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

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