ST. PAUL, Minn. – On the eve of the Republican National Convention, uncertainty is blowing through the host city at Category 5.
Not only are people wondering how Sen. John McCain and the GOP will have to alter the convention’s messages because of Hurricane Gustav and the painful reminders of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, but there now are big questions about how the expected street protests will play out.
Local and national media outlets have reported that there have been multiple raids on places where anti-war protesters are gearing up for a massive rally Monday, just before the convention’s opening.
The Hill newspaper, citing the National Lawyer Guild (NLG), reports that the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office, which leads the local law enforcement effort, has raided at least three homes and made several arrests.
Minnesota Public Radio reported that authorities had seized gallons of urine, wrist rockets and kerosene – just the sort of unconventional weapons that were feared, but never emerged, during the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Protesters have vowed to go forward with a rally of tens of thousands of people on Monday, when President Bush had been scheduled to speak. (Bush’s appearance reportedly is in doubt due to the response to the hurricane.)
The RNC Welcoming Committee, an “anarchist/anti-authoritarian” group planning to “crash the convention,” has been giving regular updates on the protests – including names of those it says have been detained — through its web site, www.nornc.org,
The group’s web site promotes a whole host of protest activities planned for Sept. 1 to Sept. 4, saying: “the Republican Party is coming to Minnesota to celebrate their latest conquests in global domination and exploitation. We of the RNC Welcoming Committee want to make sure that this time the fear-mongers will be met with their own biggest fear: people mobilized, organized, and taking the future back into their own hands.”
Similar rhetoric was used by protest planners before the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where there were some high-profile confrontations between demonstrators and police but fewer arrests, conflicts and incidents than in past national party conventions.
Will higher tensions translate into more trouble during the RNC? Stay tuned.
Am I the only one worried about the authorities raiding private homes and confiscating urine?
What kind of police state are we living in? Whatever happened to the right to peaceably protest?
This report is deeply disturbing.
TOS answer: They are hoping to shed some light on the Bush administration’s continued and relentless trampling of our constitutional and civil rights. And it looks like the police are getting a head start.
on: 7th September 08