Copyright © The American Driver
Michael (JB) Schaffner
Journalists’ group: Intimidating reporters ‘never works’
Minnesota Independent
By Paul Schmelzer
Published on Friday, August 29, 2008
The Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the country’s
largest organization of reporters and editors, has just released a statement in
response to
recent confrontations between local police and media-makers in the
weeks prior to the Republican National Convention. Calling actions against a KSTP
photographer and a trio of New York new-media artists “definite warning signs,” the
SPJ states that efforts “to intimidate journalists never work. Such misplaced heavy-
handedness only escalates tensions–something we don’t need as thousands of
respected delegates fill the convention hall next week and thousand more citizens
take to the streets to express themselves.”
The entire statement:
Police confiscating reporting equipment, prohibiting journalists from covering news events, and hassling
photographers are definite warning signs as we head into the Republican National Convention. The
Society of Professional Journalists is discouraged to learn of such tactics

recently in the name of public safety. We hope these are isolated missteps by local law enforcement
officials before the big event arrives and police have more important matters to attend to.

Three out-of-town citizen journalists, here to document events happening outside the Xcel Energy
Center, had their belongings–including cameras and notebooks–confiscated by Minneapolis police while
in Northeast Minneapolis.  Police claim the three were trespassing, but no charges have yet been filed.
The three who where detained maintain there was no such trespassing and their interaction with police
was an attempt to intimidate them because the group they represent has documented police abuse in the

A KSTP-TV photographer entered a Minneapolis city office where a group of protesters staged a sit-in.
Police informed the photographer he could not shoot pictures and pushed him out of the room.

Let’s hope our local police are not as reckless as those in Denver, who arrested an ABC TV producer this
week. The producer was investigating the influence of wealthy donors at the Democratic National
Convention. Police grabbed him by the neck, handcuffed him and hauled him downtown for ‘trespassing’
on a public sidewalk. Is this the type of threat the public should be worried about during a high profile
political event?

Attempts to intimidate journalists, whether professional or volunteer, never work. Such misplaced heavy-
handedness only escalates tensions–something we don’t need as thousands of respected delegates fill the
convention hall next week and thousand more citizens take to the streets to express themselves.
Certainly, police face an honorable and difficult task protecting the public from those who intend harm.
But those same protectors lose credibility when they invoke “Homeland Security” as a pretext for
stifling attempts at legitimate expression.

How well the Twin Cities are portrayed on the worldwide political stage relies on cool heads prevailing,
even when rhetoric runs hot. It is something Minnesotans are and should be known for.
(source:  Minnesota Independent)

Police raid RNC protest sites in Twin Cities
Star Tribune
By Abby Simons, Heron Marquez Estrada and Bill McAuliffe
Published on Saturday, August 30, 2008
David Joles, Star Tribune
St. Paul police officers attempt to gain entrance to a house on Iglehart Ave. Saturday. Sara
Coffey with the National Lawyers Guild was stopped outside the house, handcuffed and
detained. She helped police negotiate with those inside.
Ramsey County authorities conducted raids across Minneapolis and St. Paul Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike
against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.

Five people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers,
according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.

In a statement Saturday morning, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the St. Paul raid targeted the RNC Welcoming
Committee, a group he described as "a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists...intent on committing criminal
acts before and during the Republican National Convention."

"These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers," Fletcher
said. Deputies seized a variety of items that they believed were tools of civil disobedience: a gas mask, bolt cutters, axes,
slingshots, homemade "caltrops" for disabling buses, even buckets of urine.

But the raids drew immediate condemnation from activists and St. Paul City Councilman Dave Thune, whose district includes
the former theater at 627 Smith Avenue South, which was rented by activists as a gathering space.

"This is not the way to start things off," Thune said Saturday morning. "This is sending the wrong message. Regardless of how
you feel about these people...they had a right to be there."

On Saturday afternoon, law agents surrounded 951 Iglehart Av. in St. Paul where members of I-Witness Video, a New
York-based group that monitors police conduct during protests, were staying. They were detained and handcuffed but
eventually freed without charges.

At a news conference Saturday, Cheri Honkala of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, one of the protest
groups, described the Friday raid and an earlier one Thursday that evicted a demonstrators' camp on Harriet Island as
"terrorism" intended to divert attention from issues the protest groups are raising and cast the news as police versus protestors.

Thune was especially critical of Fletcher for taking action within St. Paul city limits.

"I'm really ticked off...the city is perfectly capable of taking care of things," Thune said. "If they had found anything that could
have been used to commit a crime they would have arrested somebody."

(source:  Star Tribune)

9 arrested at Xcel in antiwar march
Associated Press
By Amy Forliti
Published on Sunday, August 31, 2008
A casket representing fallen soldier
Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo
who was killed in Iraq, is seen
during an anti-war protest at the
Republican National Convention in
St. Paul, Minn., Sunday, Aug. 31,
2008. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A casket representing fallen soldier
Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo
who was killed in Iraq, is seen
during an anti-war protest at the
Republican National Convention in
St. Paul, Minn., Sunday, Aug. 31,
2008. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Police officers on bikes prepare for
an anti-war protest at the
Republican National Convention in
St. Paul, Minn., Sunday, Aug. 31,
2008. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police arrested nine people taking part in an antiwar
march at the Republican National Convention on Sunday after they crossed a
security fence into a restricted area near Xcel Energy Center.

The nine were arrested for trespassing, said Doug Holtz, a St. Paul police

Eight of the nine protesters were taken away in handcuffs. The ninth, a 78-year-
old nun, was not cuffed. The protesters had planned ahead of time to cross the
fence, and organizers had announced it ahead of the march, which drew about 250

"We are going to march into the arms of police. Whatever they are going to do is all
right with us," organizer David Harris, 73, said to the marchers before they entered
the restricted zone. He was one of those taken away. All but one, who did not
have identification, were soon released by police.
Protesters attend an anti-war rally
at the Republican National
Convention in St. Paul, Minn.,
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008. (AP
Photo/Matt Rourke)
The arrests capped a peaceful march organized by Veterans for Peace and fellow peace group CODEPINK that began at the
Capitol and made its way to Xcel, the convention hall. It was a quiet warm-up before a planned march Monday, organized by
another group, that was expected to attract a larger crowd; organizers of Monday's protest have predicted as many as 50,000

As the march began, Harris read the names of soldiers and civilians killed in Iraq. After each name was read, the marchers near
Harris shouted, "We will remember you!"

Bringing up the rear of the march, about three dozen people wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods over their heads
marched in silence with their hands behind their backs. Marchers carried a banner that said, "Torture Destroys Us All." Others
carried banners reading, "S.O.S. Nation in Distress" and "Pro Peace Pro Soldier."

Members of the RNC Welcoming Committee — which is not a sponsor of the Monday march but has offered support to
other protest groups — were trying to regroup after a series of raids Friday night and Saturday saw six people arrested and
materials seized.

Meanwhile, the organizers of Monday's march said they weren't changing their plans despite the raids on other groups or the
GOP's decision to sharply curtail that day's session due to the expected landfall of Hurricane Gustav.

"The main effect of this scaling-back of the convention tomorrow is that our voices will be front and center, and it will be the
main news that is happening tomorrow," Jess Sundin, of the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, said Sunday.

"The world will see people of this country say 'no' to the war in Iraq."

She said Monday's march is intended to be peaceful and family-oriented.

Associated Press writers Scott Bauer, Ryan J. Foley and Martiga Lohn contributed to this report.

Associated Press ~ Google News)

Thousands gather for RNC protest
Associated Press
By Amy Forliti
Published on Monday, September 1, 2008
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — About 2,000 protesters waving peace sign flags rallied
at the state Capitol on Monday before an anti-war march to the Republican
National Convention site. Hundreds of police wearing bulletproof vests and
carrying billy clubs stood by.

Preparing for disruptions from a self-described anarchist group, officers in riot gear
were stationed along the march route.

The anarchist group, known as the RNC Welcoming Committee, was targeted in
police searches over the weekend that resulted in six arrests. The group, which did
not organize Monday's march, said in a written statement that it was "moving
forward with a national call to crash the convention."

At the rally, a 25-foot-long ice sculpture rose 3 feet in the air and spelled
"Democracy." Some protesters flew kites, waved American and peace-sign flags
and carried homemade anti-war signs. Police initially estimated the rally crowd at
10,000, but then revised it sharply downward an hour later.

Police said they were prepared for anything during the march, which organizers
hoped would attract 50,000 people.

"We will not tolerate lawlessness in the city of St. Paul," St. Paul Police Chief
John Harrington said.

Peace activist Steve Clemens, 47, from Minneapolis said he was disturbed by the
number of police.

"But we can't control that," said Clemens, who had already been arrested once —
for crossing into a restricted area during a march Sunday.

For Monday's rally, he was planning to be part of the Minnesota Peace Team, a
group that hoped to prevent confrontations between police and protesters.

Cheri Honkala, a national organizer for the Poor People's Economic Human Rights
Campaign, said she expected violent confrontations between anarchists and police.

"I just hope it doesn't get bloody," she said at a news conference shortly before
the march was to begin. Her group was planning a nonviolent march on Tuesday
with acts of civil disobedience.
Protesters are seen during an
anti-war rally at the Republican
National Convention in St. Paul,
Minn., Monday, Sept. 1, 2008. (AP
Photo/Matt Rourke)
Protesters walk with members of
the group Iraq Veterans Against the
War, past a ticker that mentions
Hurricane Gustav at the
Republican National Convention in
St. Paul, Minn., Monday, Sept. 1,
2008. The veterans group decided to
go ahead with a planned protest as
news of the Hurricane continued to
come in. (AP Photo/Ross D.
One of the six arrested over the weekend on probable cause of conspiracy to commit a riot was released Sunday, according to
attorney Bruce Nestor. No charges were filed against the woman, 23-year-old Monica Bicking. The other five remained jailed,
possibly until Wednesday, Nestor said.

Associated Press writers Ryan J. Foley and Martiga Lohn contributed to this report.

(source:  Associated Press ~ Google News)

Protests Turn Violent at GOP Convention
CQ Politics
By Rob Margetta and Catharine Ritchart, CQ Staff
Published on Monday, September 1, 2008
Police used tear gas to disperse rock-throwing protesters on the streets outside the Republican National Convention Monday
and arrested 286, as remnants of an antiwar march turned unruly.

The confrontations followed a parade by an estimated 10,000 protesters past the Xcel Energy Center earlier in the day and
frustrated weeks of efforts by city officials and antiwar activists to organize a peaceful demonstration.

“Unfortunately, today, a very small handful of people decided to break the law, damage property and endanger people,” said St.
Paul Police Chief John M. Harrington. Police said the trouble was caused by about 150 to 180 people, operating in groups of
about 20.

The arrest tally includes at least 130 felonies, 51 gross misdemeanors and 103 misdemeanors, according to a joint command
center set up by the Secret Service, which is in charge of RNC security.

Self-described anarchists and groups of protesters slashed tires on police vehicles and buses transporting convention delegates,
and attempted to block others from reaching the convention hall. A group of 25 to 30 protesters blocking one bus chanted
“GOP, stay away — racist, sexist, antigay.”

In an early indication of what was in store Monday, protesters set fire to a dumpster a few blocks from the convention center
and pushed it until it collided with a police car.

Police said one officer was injured after being punched in the back.

Anarchist groups under the name RNC Welcoming Committee vowed on their Web site and various blogs to continue trying to
disrupt the convention. Police arrested more than 50 anarchists in raids last weekend.

Organizers of the Coalition to March on the RNC and End the War, an alliance of about 130 different groups that organized the
peaceful march, declined to condemn the anarchists’ tactics, but promised they would be staging a safe, family friendly event.

For at least part of the day Monday, they appeared to have succeeded.

Thousands of protesters of every stripe — anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-authority or just plain anti-Republican — passed
through a corridor made from heavy steel fencing just a few hundred yards from the Xcel center, site of the convention that will
nominate Sen. John McCain of Arizona later this week as the Republican presidential nominee.

The parade started with a morning rally on the lawn of the Minnesota Capitol Building, at a portable stage set up for the
occasion below the Capitol dome.

“This march and rally is about ending the war and bringing the troops home,” said activist David Anderson of Duluth, Minn.,
who held a large banner calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. “This is about the war, not necessarily the RNC. We
should be doing this every day, not just when the RNC is here.”

At the other end of the banner was Larry Skwarczynski, a Vietnam veteran with Veterans for Piece, who looked every inch the
activist with a black T-shirt, sandals and gray ponytail. “The old farts didn’t do it 40 years ago,” he said. “I was there. We’ve
got to do it now.”

The parade followed a route lined with police wearing riot gear and gas masks and holding wooden batons and tear gas guns.
Demonstrators were greeted at the Xcel center by about 300 counter demonstrators holding signs that read “Victory Over
Terrorism, Let Our Soliders Win,” which resulted in a few tense moments, with anti-war marchers either stopping for intense
conversations or shouting “Bring them home” more loudly.

Joe Repya, a veteran of Vietnam and Desert Storm, who re-enlisted at age 58 to serve as a liaison in Iraq, said he disagreed with
demonstrators but respected their right to march. “They have all the right in the world to protest,” he said. “My brothers and
sisters in the military shed their blood and sacrificed their lived to for freedom, so that people in America can protest.”

St. Paul officials said they had tried to accommodate protesters, giving them a parade route close to the convention center and
the state Capitol and a demonstration area three times the size one provided during the Democratic convention in Denver.

“We’re doing this in an unprecedented way,” said City Attorney John Choi. “The mayor, the city — from their perspective,
they wanted to do what they could to give the people with something to say the opportunity to say it, no matter what it is.”

Even some protest organizers acknowledged the cooperation.

“They actually reached out to the groups of protesters and worked with us,” said Michael Schaffner with the American Driver,
a group of truckers protesting high gas prices, who will have its own parade of vehicles Tuesday.

Robert W. Merry contributed to this story.

CQ Politics)

Local Police Arrest RNC Protestors
By Bob Hennelly
Published on Tuesday, September 2, 2008
NEW YORK, NY September 02, 2008 —After several thousand peaceful
protesters marched from Minnesota's state capital to the site of the
Republican National Convention, small gangs of young people went on a

The cat and mouse game between self-styled young anarchists and police first
started as the massive peace march of 10,000 drew to a close. Turned-over
garbage cans escalated to broken storefront windows, vandalized police cars
and the setting of a fire. Police report a brick was thrown through the window
of a bus belonging to the Alabama delegation. To quell the flare ups, police
used mounted units, tear gas and pepper spray. All told, 130 people were
charged with felonies and another 120 with other crimes. Pacifica Radio Talk
Show Host Amy Goodman was among those arrested but was released after
three hours.

Protest groups involved in yesterday's demonstrations say they were
successful despite the police presence. Some of them plan to denounce police
brutality at a press conference this morning where they will discuss plans for
continuing protests. A group of truckers called "the American Driver" is
planning a parade to protest high fuel prices later today.

(source:  WYNC News)

Police line up outside the RNC in
St. Paul