Comments: Conventional Clampdown

I would be amazed if anything close to a majority of the masked "protestors" are not plants. The Conventions aren't the focus of much violence. It would be interesting to see how many maksed individuals are arrested for vandalism.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 3, 2008 03:00 PM

spraying at least one person just inches from her face as she was held down on the ground by several police officers

Amateurs. Over here in London, the Met showed how it's done properly.

Posted by Mike at September 3, 2008 04:21 PM

there's no vision here of state employment other than law enforcement. beating on protestors, incarcerating more petty criminals, making more war. creating jobs and decreasing the accountability of elected officials. a one-two punch for policymakers.

Posted by hapa at September 3, 2008 04:25 PM

Cops are agents of the State, the status quo of power.

They are always pigs, before the become cops. Then they're Pig/Cops...

It's why the become cops: it's in their piggy natures.

I hate cops...

Every citizen should be busted by cops once in their lives, just so they can learn what their acquiescence empowers the Pigs to do: it should be a graduation requirement. Everybody should be busted on a real beef by a 'good cop' on a bad day, or by a bad--most--cop any day. If you ever felt the pleasure with which they tighten the cuffs til your hands go numb, you'd maybe be not so approving of the deeds these pig-fuckers do...

Posted by woody, tokin librul at September 3, 2008 04:31 PM

Was at the march on Monday.

Some obeservations. The number of people in the march appeared to be under-reported. The counter-demonstrators were fewer than 100 or so. They had a pallet and a half of "Let them win" signs sitting new and unused on the ground. The mesh barriers had been trucked in from Denver, there were dried flowers in the mesh from one of the Denver party.

It was clear that there were hard-core there from all over during the march, but an agreement had been made beforehand between the groups to have a peaceful march--as it was. The other stuff was to happen afterwards.

There were a mix of police officer ther. Some horseback, some on bicycles, some in ordinary uniform and many in full riot gear. The intent was intimidation.

My only regret is that there aren't more hard-core, there are time when the glass must be broken. "Minnesota-nice" is overated.

Posted by Neal at September 3, 2008 05:00 PM

Was at the march on Monday.

Some obeservations. The number of people in the march appeared to be under-reported. The counter-demonstrators were fewer than 100 or so. They had a pallet and a half of "Let them win" signs sitting new and unused on the ground. The mesh barriers had been trucked in from Denver, there were dried flowers in the mesh from one of the Denver party.

It was clear that there were hard-core there from all over during the march, but an agreement had been made beforehand between the groups to have a peaceful march--as it was. The other stuff was to happen afterwards.

There were a mix of police officer ther. Some horseback, some on bicycles, some in ordinary uniform and many in full riot gear. The intent was intimidation.

My only regret is that there aren't more hard-core, there are time when the glass must be broken. "Minnesota-nice" is overated.

Posted by Neal at September 3, 2008 05:00 PM

Sadly, not all the masked roamers are cops. That's part of what makes this a thorny issue to sort out. After the Seattle demos in 1999, there were recriminations and some real debate surrounded by a lot of huffy posturing. A lot of that got put aside after the September 11 attacks, but we're now in a new era with the issues more alive than ever.

Posted by Nell at September 3, 2008 05:05 PM

Another interesting bit from Garofoli's story, which included coverage of the press conference where the St. Paul mayor defended the "restraint" of his riot cops:

Asked whether law enforcement used undercover infiltrators to obtain information on the suspected demonstrators, [St. Paul police spokesman] Walsh said "that's an irresponsible question" and declined to answer.

He huffed out shortly thereafter. What's striking is the contrast with Ramsey County Sheriff Fletcher at his press conference Saturday afternoon, defending the weekend house and office raids as justified by information from infiltrators about what the people in those spaces were planning:

"Our job is to take every dangerous item out of their hands, so they can't utilize them. We have extensive investigative work, complete with a number of confidential reliable sources that have worked inside this area, this anarchist area," said Fletcher. "We know these items were going to be used, because we had sources that were working inside this organization."

[from a Minnesota Public Radio story on 8/30]

Posted by Nell at September 3, 2008 08:22 PM

Nell, I'm inclined to agree with you, but I also wonder if law enforcement engages in "pre-emptive" raids so they can find out how to infiltrate anarchist groups, possibly even with the goal of radicalizing them.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at September 3, 2008 09:03 PM

funny [ or not ] i do not recall hearing from cagan and all the dem shills about protesters in denver !
still free ALL protesters in BOTH cities !
the mayor in twin cities is a died wool donky if i understand correctly .

Posted by badri at September 3, 2008 09:55 PM

Since St. Paul has a dem mayor one might ask if the mayor of Denver is a repub? Could be that the reason there was less ANTI-AMERICAN treatment of protesters in Denver is simply lack of care on the part of a republican mayor.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 3, 2008 10:40 PM

Lesson learned: If I'm going to participate in a peace march I want to wear full riot gear with pepperspray and extra long nightstick.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 3, 2008 10:51 PM

@Jonathan Versen:

Absolutely, I didn't mean to convey I believe Sheriff Fletcher's stated reason for the infiltrators. The point of the infiltrators is to develop provocations, and one major point of the raids is to gather information. The other is sheer intimidation.

@badri: The scale of the Twin Cities clampdown has been significantly different than that of Denver. In Denver, cops were edgy -- there was a lot of declaring areas that would seem to anyone else to be public space suddenly private space, especially when the people on that space were taking pictures and trying to talk to convention-goers. The response to non-permitted demos, where people simply took the street, was rough. But even in the bogus mass arrest-after-spraying-and-pinning, the charges were municipal misdemeanors with light penalties.

In Minneapolis, the combination of the preemptive raids and seizure of equipment with the total attitude of confrontation and the more than a hundred felony charges seems to be a serious ramping-up.

It's bizarre to see Leslie Cagan referred to as a Dem shill, but I guess it all depends on how far away you're looking at it from. I'm not sure whether UfPJ had a presence in Denver, apart from some of its member groups (IVAW, CodePink), but I can see a case for saying that the very fact that they chose St. Paul over Denver, if they did, is an indication of Dem-shill-ness.

Posted by Nell at September 3, 2008 11:00 PM

Nell,I'm thinking maybe they chose St Paul in part because of the 2007 bridge collapse, on the theory that the recency phenomenon will crowd out the associations with that, as people scan their memories for murky associations with the topic "the last time Minneapolis was in the news"...

I realize that may sound like a bit of a stretch, but when you think of all the photo-ops with GWB in front of images of a crucifix or Jesus, I'd argue it's Rovian S.O.P.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at September 4, 2008 12:42 AM

i sure was not in US in 70s when the lady suppose to have earned her laurels .
how ever i do recall 2004 . they went out of their way to make sure there was no serious demo in boston by this outfit . one war criminal was ok with them as they did turned out in force in NYC .
i also remember freezing my ass in NYC inching six blocks so as to be able to turn around in next street to approach main stage , with temps in teens , in what was probably a MAJOR demo . just before the invasion of iraq . cagan and co did not even have guts to tell NYC mayor and jackboot thugs hell with you we will use side streets to approach the main site . try to stop quarter million people . no sir . we nice people will obey the law and fill up the pens like cattles .

Posted by badri at September 4, 2008 03:27 AM

@Mike Meyer: Mayor Hickenlooper of Denver is a Democrat also.

When the feds are giving out $50 million for paramilitary toys and access to the fruits of federal domestic spying and list-making, all local governments lap it up.

I have a sense that the St.Paul mayor is going to face much more voter unhappiness over the cops' behavior than Hickenlooper, and not only because the cops' behavior was worse.

Posted by Nell at September 4, 2008 12:56 PM

I KNEW I should have learned to sell insurance! Man!!! what a policy! I wonder what a premium on that would cost? Only in AMERICA, an insurance policy so's YOU can brutalize the neighborhood, is this great or what?

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 4, 2008 07:59 PM

Thanks for covering this, Nell.

Posted by me at September 7, 2008 08:02 AM