OK folks, here we go. So far, two eight (lots of) people have been reported arrested during protests on the streets of Saint Paul; there are at least 3 separate marches/rallies happening, as far as I can tell- a student feeder-march, which began this morning from Macalester Collge and is being followed by a very large contingent of riot cops, and at least two thousand people (and growing rapidly) amassed at the capital building. An anti-capitalist bloc of about 150 people is engaging in street confrontations with cops. Major road-ways leading to the convention center are all blocked-off by riot cops, police on horses, and Dept of Homeland Security SUV’s. I’ll pop back with updates as often as I can. Live video feeds from the streets, when available, can be see over here.
1:15 (EST)/12:15 (CEN): A handful of demonstrators have breeched the security fence around the convention center; pepper spray being used heavily; busload of 50 National Guard troops has arrived inside the security perimeter around the Xcel Center.
1:45 (EST)/12:45 (CEN): Black bloc has one major intersection held, including a police bus blocked in! cops are regrouping around them. Journalists (including MSM), clearly marked with credentials, on the streets being pepper sprayed en masse by roving bike cops. Break-away “Funk the war” marched approx 300 people.
2:00 (EST)/1:00 (CEN): A second intersection is being successfully blocked by locked-down protesters; heavy street fighting between cops and black bloc, with at least one officer reported “down”- National Guard and riot cop reinforcements arriving. Horses being used to ram into folks blocking an intersection (and holding a police bus).
2:30 (EST)/1:30 (CEN): Intersections of Kellogg & Summit, 7th & Wall, 8th & Wall, Kellogg & Cedar, and possibly more all entirely blocked; there appear to be at least half a dozen fairly well coordinated and tactically organized anti-authoritarian blocks throughout downtown St Paul. Delegate buses are being blocked from getting to the Xcel Center, with one bus having its windows smashed in. Heavy street combat between black bloc and riot cops along John Ireland St. Legal observers now being detained. Cops in complete disarray and running in odd formations, sometimes right past blockades without even stopping.
3:00 (EST/2:00 (CEN): Most intersections have been cleared by riot cops; over 100 arrested; delegate buses re-routed out of St Paul; several roving anti-authoritarian blocs continue; cops charging on horses, rubber bullets, tear gas, and tasers being used all over; National Guard arriving at heaviest clashes with concussion grenades; police now driving squad cars into crowds; total fucking chaos in Saint Paul!
Tonight or later today I’ll throw up my oft-promised post regarding street demos, black blocs, tactics, etc. Watch it all live (1 minute delay) from the UpTake.
3:15 (EST)/2:15 (CEN): On-scene lawyers and legal observers being detained and taken away; cop cars being destroyed; rubber bullets and tear gas everywhere; bricks being removed from buildings and thrown at windows. Injured protester pepper sprayed while down, is detained and being denied medical attention.
3:45 EST)/2:45 (CEN): Most RNC events & speeches cancelled for the day, Bush cancels RNC appearance, McCain possibly canceling appearance (perhaps acceptance speech will happen in Gulf Coast). Of course, Hurricane Gustav is being blamed for all this, though many (including some in the MSM) are doubting that’s the only reason. The permitted anti-war march, including Iraq Veterans Against the War, is underway with approx 10,000 people. Some intersections still being held. At least one of the live feed cams I saw showed a black bloc that was very well organized, in tight formation with strong numbers, tactical flaggers on all four sides, and kicking ass. That’s how you do that, Denver.
4:45 (EST)/3:45 (CEN): Clashes in the streets continue; possibly over 200 people arrested so far; lawyers being denied access to Ramsey County Jail (where most people are being held); the hospital nearest the protests is on “lockdown” after being inundated with people seeking medical attention from pepper spray and rubber bullets. Metro Transit services into Downtown St Paul have been suspended. Convention delegates who were being moved towards the Xcel Center on foot came into face-to-face confrontation with an anti-capitalist bloc. Several intersections still being blockaded and black bloc vs riot police and National Guardsmen confrontations continue throughout the city; 300 people are on the receiving end of a horse stampede; street medics are being targeted for arrest. Unconfirmed reports of live ammo being fired near the Exel Center.
5:45 (EST)/4:45 (CEN): Very heavy street fighting continues; cops have now blockaded all Northern bridges out of the city and appear to be moving in a highly controlled, “pincer formation” through the city, pushing everyone to the SE towards Kellogg Park. I’ve now read & heard several MSM reports that “a small handful of protesters turned violent” and that “20 people have been arrested”. Also, a woman has just been run over by a car (apparently not a cop car, but just a jackass right-winger). She is in need of serious medical attention, the cops are standing by doing nothing.
6:00 (EST)/5:00 (CEN): An entire bloc has been pinned into an intersection and is being arrested (approx 40 folks)- police making the arrests are beating people senseless as they do so, including Democracy Now! journalists. Tin Can Comms, one of several live feed demo newslines, is not responding and may be raided has been raided; nine people arrested and charged with “conspiracy to incite riots”; legal observer on hand was denied being shown the search warrant; computers, etc, seized. Concerns now for other on the ground update centers who may be raided.
7:00 (EST)/ 6:00 (CEN): Police and National Guard have entirely sealed off Downtown St Paul and are making mass arrests, including DN! host Amy Goodman.
9:30 (EST)/8:30 (CEN): Things are mostly quiet now; activists and organizers have switched into jail support/solidarity; spokescouncil de-briefings and reflections are happening. Amy Goodman has been released, though dozens of other journalists, street medics, and activists remain in jail. The “mass arrests” reported earlier resulted mostly in people being detained, bused far away from the action, and released. Many (there’s no confirmed total but is thought to be hundreds) have been arrested throughout the day. Word is the above mentioned raid at Tin Can was the result of “an FBI informant” and the totally on-top of their shit folks at TC IMC have ratted-out the rat: independent attorney David Anderson. From an intersepted email this jackass sent to a listserve of solo-practice attorneys:
True confessions: I spent 3 hours Sat afternoon + evening in their
“Convergence Center” on Smith Ave in St.P, (the location that was “raided”
They are EXTREMELY organized, complete with “affiant (sic) groups” or cells
which have individual assignments and tactics, and Hand signals to specify
affirmation or objection to a particular course of action.
I left after a couple of the leaders suspected me of being with the
“media”.(I think my use of Deoderant gave me away.)
I am also a Volunteer with Operations @ the RNC.
He’s at least smart enough to figure one thing out about anarchists: we’re extremely organized. As Prince Kropotkin was known to say: “Anarchism is organization, organization, organization”.
9:45 (EST)/ 8:45 (CEN): This is it and then I’m going to bed kids. A Code Pink & Mother’s Against the War rally is being pushed around by riot cops. Police have also effectively taken up positions that are making it very difficult for folks to get to the convergence center for the spokescouncil meeting. The Ramsey County Sherif has announced the total number of arrests (so far) today are 167 284, though that has not been verified by anyone else (73 130 people charged with felonies, 42 51 with gross misdemeanors, and 48 103 with misdemeanors); court for everyone arrested today is at 8am in the morning. Unfortunately, I’m back to work tomorrow and so I won’t be able to sit around watching riot porn all day (hey, I did get to clean up after yesterday’s BBQ in between phone calls to St Paul and scouring the web- BBQ totals, FYI, run like this: 2 large trash bags of trash, 2 large trash bags of beer cans and bottles, 2 paper grocery bags of compost, one load in the dishwasher, 2 games of whiffle ball played, and 1, no wait, I think 2 long round(s) of all-terrain bocci played). I will post something up here either late tomorrow or early Wednesday about RNC Saint Paul S2.
If you want to follow whatever happens tomorrow in the streets of Saint Paul, first go to the Twin Cities IMC, then be sure to check out the Cold Snap Legal Collective, and be sure to hit-up The UpTake‘s live, on the ground video footage. The Portland IMC and Bay Area IMC have also been providing good coverage.
Good luck out there folks….
Amy Goodman’s arrest: