from KARE 11:
The State Capitol has long been the epicenter of Minnesota politics, but rarely has the discourse been as loud or impassioned as the voices carrying across the grounds Monday afternoon.
For two hours speakers from a number of activist organizations took the stage, assailing what they call the failed policies of the Bush administration, and trying to link them to Republican Nominee John McCain.
“The working class and the middle class are being completely misrepresented, and the RNC needs to hear that people are angry,” opined 23 year old Duluth resident Chelsa Nelson after the speakers had finished. She was one of an estimated ten thousand or more that marched down Cedar Street en route to the Xcel Energy Center, site of the RNC.
Most of the signs dealt directly with the war in Iraq, and the moral, political, and financial objections of protest groups. “This war has really got to end, it’s the worst thing to ever happened in American foreign policy. Unbelievably stupid,” said veteran protester Mark DeZiel. “You’ve got people who are diverse in their philosophies, what they’re coming here for, but we’re all against the war.”
Organizers of the march on the Republican National Convention estimated there would be a crowd of 50,000 people. According to the official numbers from the Minnesota State Patrol and Capitol police, the crowd numbered approximately 10,000 people.
They marched from the capitol grounds to as close to the Xcel Energy Center as they could get. Along the way, police mobile field forces dressed in riot gear blocked roads as protesters and marchers passed by.
For the number of people, this large, organized protest remained relatively peaceful.
“We think it’s time for a change and?we’re here to support everything that’s going to be happening,” says Marta McIntyre of Roseville.
“I am not in favor of the war. I believe that it’s about time that we should stop,” says Denisse Spencer, who marched among the crowd through downtown St. Paul.