Police raid RNC protest sites in Twin Cities
First of all, protesting is a loser’s game. It has no lasting impact on policy or public opinion. If you want to affect policy, you have to be organized, respectful, and these days demonstrate that you have at least one hundred thousand voters of the same consensus, whatever your cause or complaint.
Otherwise you are a non-starter politically. You may find that unfair, nonetheless it is how the game is played. The internet, the great equalizer of this day and age makes the dissemination of information and the gathering unto oneself of like-minders easier than ever.
As a blogger, I don’t begrudge anyone that would oppose the policies of their government. Open, unfettered debate is a right and a responsibility for every citizen. However, protesting and the disruption of a legitimate political process is an ineffective, wasteful, and frankly lazy way to express one’s opinion.
Our law enforcement is charged with protecting those that gather for the legitimate process as well as the protestors, putting them in a veritable squeeze play. Add the fact that an outbreak of violence at an event of the magnitude of the Republican Convention in Saint Paul is not out the realm of possibility.
If the protesters are obtuse enough to make their plans to exercise anarchy and disruption known, a preemptive strike by law enforcement should not be a surprise and in fact serves to dissuade those that would break the law by bringing harm to persons or property.
Ramsey County authorities raided several Minneapolis homes and a St. Paul building on Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.
Three 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.”
But that can’t be right. How could a group with such an innocuous name intend to bring harm to persons or property?
“These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers,” Fletcher said.
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.”
Not if they are breaking the law – any law. Even the RNC Welcoming Committee should be smart enough to know that.
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.
Terrorism. Don’t insult our intelligence.
You are not raising any issues. No one cares about you because you have marginalized yourself by the means you have chosen to publicize your cause.
“We will not be intimidated,” Honkala said.
Big words. Not smart.
Thune was especially critical of Fletcher for taking action within St. Paul city limits and because the raid apparently did not yield any dangerous materials, such as Molotov cocktails, bombs or other devices.
“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.”
Sounds like the cops cut the protesters some slack. Law Enforcement had a Warrant. Hey Thune, mind explaining what these items might be used for then?
Pioneer Press/Twin Cities.com (HT “Chuck”):
- materials to creating “sleeping dragons” (PVC pipe, chicken wire, duct tape), which is when protesters lock themselves together
- large amounts of urine, including three to five gallon buckets of urine
- wrist rockets
- a machete, hatchet and several throwing knives
- a gas mask and filter
- empty glass bottles
- flammable liquids
- homemade caltrops (devises used to disable buses in roads)
- metal pipes
- bolt cutters
- sledge hammers
- repelling equipment
- Kryptonite locks
- empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields
- material for protective padding
- an Army helmet.
The RNC Welcoming Committee denied criminal intent and described the police actions as “violence” that is a sign of more extreme police measures to come.
“The police may claim that the raid was executed according to protocol – however, the violence inherent in this action may only be a hint of the violence to be expected on Monday and beyond, and is only a hint at the violence perpetrated daily by the police,” the group’s statement read.
Violence? Reports (from a newspaper more likely to be sympathetic to the protestors than anyone else by the way) cited no violence save busting down a door. Being asked to lie down and keep still is hardly an act of violence.
…and what the hell do you plan on doing with a bucket of urine any way? Idiots.
This action on the part of law enforcement is a small price to pay in what will surely be a rarified environment. The people that have gathered lawfully have as much right to be there, and to be kept safe, as the protesters have to excrete their rage.