Sunday, August 31, 2008

Damping Down Minneapolis

I am simultaneously offended and enchanted by the McCain campaign's belief that nominating Diana Prince as the Vice Presidential candidate will win over disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters.
And I'm both concerned about the disaster once again looming over the Gulf Coast and chagrined that Gustav seems to be relieving the RNC of Bush and Cheney's embarrassing presence.

But I'm purely outraged by the heavy-handed police efforts in the Twin Cities to shut down protesters before they have a chance to speak; From the LA Times:
On Friday night and Saturday morning, authorities raided a building in St. Paul and three homes in Minneapolis, seizing materials that could be used to barricade roads and disable buses, according to police officials.

The raids targeted the RNC Welcoming Committee, a self-described anarchist group, which Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said in a statement was "intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention."

At least four people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a riot and other charges, and booked into Hennepin County Jail. Dozens were detained or questioned.

Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, criticized the police action, saying officers also took boxes of pamphlets on free-speech laws in Minnesota and booklets on how to legally protest.

"It's the same charge used against the Chicago Eight in 1968, and that was purely a politically motivated prosecution," Nestor said, referring to the tumultuous Democratic National Convention that year. "This isn't about protecting delegates. This is about a preemptive strike."

Apparently the raid was justified, in part, by this threatening very funny video:

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