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. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning -- one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided. Each of the raided houses is known by neighbors as a "hippie house," where 5-10 college-aged individuals live in a communal setting, and everyone we spoke with said that there had never been any problems of any kind in those houses, that they were filled with "peaceful kids" who are politically active but entirely unthreatening and friendly...
On the other hand, I'm tremendously upset at the conduct of some of the protesters. As Democrat that has despised the GOP's actions over the course of the Bush Administration, I had hoped for a huge, peaceful march not unlike one Martin Luther King would have advocated if he were still with us.
There are designated areas where to protest and where to set up your cameras and do your journalistic duties.
If this were truly the totalitarian police-state that people are decrying it to be, you wouldn't have even known about the arrests.
Nazi Germany, for example, came into being through violent means, including street battles, the burning of the Reichstag, and Kristallnacht, followed by a Nazi revolution
There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script. But the massive and plainly excessive preemptive police raids in Minnesota are of a different order altogether. Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.
What in the name of holy FUCK is the point of that?
So, people are 'planning illegal acts' when it's protest you disagree with, and it's all barbershop quartet hilarity when you agree with them?
2. Transportation Troubles – This includes blockades downtown (at key intersections), on bridges (10 bridges over the Mississippi River in the metro area), and other sporadic and strategic targets (busses, hotel and airport shuttles etc).
In fact, St. Paul actually negotiated a special insurance provision with the Republican Host Committee so that the first $10 million in liability for lawsuits arising from the convention will be covered by the Host Committee. The city is very proud of this negotiation. It’s the first time it’s been negotiated between a city and the Host Committee. But it basically means we can commit wrongdoing, and we won’t have to pay for it.
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