Crowd control at the RNC: Fifty million unanswered questions

September 9, 2008

from the Minnesota Independent:

The RNC is over, and it’s not just Sarah Palin exhaling relief. The mayors of each twin city have issued their unanimous judgment of law enforcement actions during the daily protest rallies and marches of the RNC.

Their one-word summary: Convention police showed “restraint.”

Advocates for the hundreds, perhaps thousands of protesters (and a few journalists) who were pepper sprayed, maced, smoke-bombed, shoved, shot at (with non-lethal “impact rounds”), dispersed, cited, and detained have issued their own consensus message: See you in court.

The City of St. Paul had $50 million in federal money to spend on security for the RNC. Anybody on the streets of downtown St. Paul during the convention could have a close-up look at how some of that taxpayer money was spent, as police in riot gear showed off their tactical training and weaponry daily.

Members of the Minneapolis City Council have already called for an independent investigation with public hearings.

full article here

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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


Jail Vigil and Arrestee Support

September 4, 2008

Hey folks! Coldsnap needs your help! We are coordinating a 24 hour-a-day jail vigil to provide support and services to our friends and community members as they are released from jail. In order to have a round the clock presence, we need lots of people to come hang out and help out at the jails. If you are interested in getting on the outtake schedule, please email Lindsey at lindshives@gmail.com. Otherwise, just show up and bring your friends! We’ll be there 24 hours throughout the RNC, starting Friday night after critical mass. Sign up for the RNC legal twitter account to get jail updates (check www.tincancollective.org for instructions). If you get released from jail, come visit us for legal info, food, medical care, and chocolate! We’ve got your back!

Ramsey County Jail- 425 Grove St., St Paul (24 hour vigil)
Hennepin County Jail- 350 S. 5th St., Minneapolis (vigil as needed- check twitter)
Coldsnap Legal Hotline- 651.356.8635


Protesters plan St. Paul anti-war march to end GOP convention protests the way they began

September 4, 2008

September 4, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As John McCain accepts his party’s presidential nomination Thursday night, protesters calling for an end to the Iraq war plan to march outside the Xcel Energy Center.

The Anti-War Committee, which is organizing Thursday’s march, urged others to join in and denounced the increased presence of police in riot gear and acts of “intimidation” in the streets of St. Paul.

Tracy Molm, a member of Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota, urged students to get involved.

“Students in this country are angry. We’re angry because it’s us that are asked to fight and die in this immoral and unjust war,” Molm said Wednesday. “Bring that anger to the streets, because that is how social change in this country happens.”

Police arrested 102 protesters in downtown Minneapolis early Thursday following a concert by the political rock group Rage Against the Machine, according to the Joint Information Center. Of those arrests, 100 were for misdemeanors and two were for gross misdemeanors. Eighty-seven of those arrested were tagged and released; 15 were booked.

full story


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 Protest Day 3

September 4, 2008

“No Peace for the War-Makers” demonstration at the Xcel Center on September 4

September 4, 2008

Anti-War Committee

1313 5th St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 w 612.379.3899 w http://www.antiwarcommittee.org

For Immediate Release: September 3, 2008

Contact: Katrina Plotz 651.769.4474

Misty Rowan 651.494.8240

Anti-War Committee press conference to announce “No Peace for the War-Makers” demonstration at the Xcel Center on September 4

On Wednesday September 3, the Anti-War Committee will hold a press conference at 1:30 at the Merriam Park Library in St. Paul to announce plans for a massive demonstration on Thursday, the final day of the Republican National Convention. Plans for September 4 include a rally at the State Capitol at 4 pm followed by a march to the Xcel Center. Individuals and groups will demonstrate their opposition to the war in Iraq and the wars at home on immigrants, workers, low income families, people of color, and the queer community. Demonstrators will utilize creative and diverse tactics to resist war and injustice under a banner of “No Peace for the War-Makers.”

The September 4th demonstration has been endorsed locally by the Welfare Rights Committee, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and Students for a Democratic Society, and nationally by the Troops Out Now Coalition, the International Action Center, and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.

Anti-War Committee member Misty Rowan explains, “On September 4, the Republicans will nominate John McCain for president, a candidate who supports endless occupation in Iraq and has threatened war against Iran. He has vowed to continue the war at home by extending Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and by expanding free trade agreements that exploit workers and the environment. We must counter this agenda with demands of our own. We want U.S. troops out of Iraq now and an end to injustice and exploitation at home.

Katrina Plotz of the Anti-War Committee continues, “Throughout the RNC, the Xcel Center has been closed to the thousands of people whose lives are most affected by the plans and decisions of the politicians. The police presence in St. Paul this week has been designed to scare and silence those who are speaking and acting against the Republican agenda. We will not be intimidated. It’s up to us to gather in the streets and converge on the Xcel Center to reject 5 years of unjust war in Iraq and demand justice at home and abroad.”

The Anti-War Committee has been organizing rallies, protests, and educational events in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. We stand in solidarity with communities at home and abroad who are oppressed by U.S. policy and are committed to building a broad movement for social justice and peace.

Press Conference: “No Peace for the War-Makers”

Wednesday, September 3 @ 1:30 pm, at Merriam Park Library (1831 Marshall Ave, St. Paul – corner of Marshall and Fairview.