Use of Force Against RNC Protesters “Disproportionate,” Charges Amnesty International

September 9, 2008

from Amnesty International:

PRESS STATEMENT
For immediate release:
Friday, September 5, 2008
Contact: AIUSA media office
202-544-0200 x302

Use of Force Against RNC Protesters “Disproportionate,” Charges Amnesty International

[London]–Amnesty International is concerned by allegations of excessive use of force and mass arrests by police at demonstrations in St. Paul, Minnesota during the Republican National Convention (RNC) from September 1-4, 2008. The human rights organization is calling on the city and county authorities to ensure that all allegations of ill-treatment and other abuses are impartially investigated, with a review of police tactics and weapons in the policing of demonstrations.

The organization’s concerns arise from media reports, video and photographic images which appear to show police officers deploying unnecessary and disproportionate use of non-lethal weapons on non-violent protestors marching through the streets or congregating outside the arena where the Convention was being held.

Amnesty International urges that an inquiry be carried out promptly, that its findings and recommendations be made public in a timely manner. If the force used is found to have been excessive and to have contravened the principles of necessity and proportionality, then those involved should be disciplined, measures put in place and training given to ensure future policing operations conform to international standards.

Police are reported to have fired rubber bullets and used batons, pepper spray, tear gas canisters and concussion grenades on peaceful demonstrators and journalists. Amnesty International has also received unconfirmed reports that some of those arrested during the demonstrations may have been ill-treated while held at Ramsey county jail.

Amnesty International is also concerned at reports that several journalists who were covering the RNC were arbitrarily arrested while filming and reporting on the demonstrations. They include host of independent news program Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, and two of the program’s producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, who were both allegedly subjected to violence during their arrest. A photographer for the Associated Press (AP) and other journalists were also arrested while covering the demonstrations.

Kouddous described his arrest to media, “…two or three police officers tackled me. They threw me violently against a wall. Then they threw me to the ground. I was kicked in the chest several times. A police officer ground his knee into my back…I was also, the entire time, telling them, ‘I’m media. I’m press….,’ but…that didn’t seem to matter at all.”

Amnesty International recognizes the challenges involved in policing large scale demonstrations and that some protestors may have been involved in acts of violence or obstruction. However, some of the police actions appear to have breached United Nations (U.N.) standards on the use of force by law enforcement officials. These stipulate, among other things, that force should be used only as a last resort, in proportion to the threat posed, and should be designed to minimize damage or injury. Some of the treatment also appears to have contravened U.S. laws and guidelines on the use of force. The U.N. standards also stress that everyone is allowed to participate in lawful and peaceful assemblies, in accordance with the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For more information, please contact the AIUSA media office at 202-544-0200 x302 or visit our website at http://www.amnestyusa.org.

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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 Try to Corral Group of 200 Protesters for Arrests on Marion St. Bridge

September 5, 2008

from FOX “News”:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — At least 55 people have been arrested on the fourth consecutive day of protests during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

Thursday night, police were trying to corral about 200 more protesters for arrests on the Marion Street bridge in St. Paul.

Police expect the official number of arrests to climb through the evening as more people are processed.

Protesters Get Tear Gased Near the State Capitol


Update from Marion Street Bridge

September 5, 2008

3 empty police busses heading towards detainments on marion 94 bridge – mass arrest appears likely.

source: Twin Cities Indymedia


Marching to the Convention Center to protest the RNC

September 5, 2008

9/4/08 – Protest Welcoming Committee for John McCain

September 5, 2008