St. Paul Police and County Sheriffs Launch Preemptive Strike on First Amendment

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Using the pretext of possible fire code violations Minneapolis cops raid headquarters of group organizing protests at the Republican National convention with guns drawn, detaining and photographing all 50 people in the premises, though arresting no one and finding no illegal activity they seized seized materials including laptops, protest literature, bus schedules, sign-making materials and a topographical map of St. Paul, site of Xcel Energy Center, the convention hall. Apparently this was one of numerous raids taking place at suspected lodging places of activist groups in St. Paul and Minneapolis for this week's planned protests.

CNN reports

Police raided a rental hall used by a group organizing protests at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday.

The RNC Welcoming Committee, which describes itself as "anarchist/anti-authoritarian," accused St. Paul police of trying to disrupt their protest planned for Monday, the day the GOP convention is set to begin.

Although no one was arrested, the group said police temporarily detained and photographed at least 50 people who were inside the building.

St. Paul Police spokesman Tom Walsh said they were executing a search warrant.

"The cause for the search warrant is not public at this time," Walsh said.

As many as 30 police officers entered with guns drawn, according to witnesses in the building.

"The convergence center is simply a gathering place and is not used for illegal actions -- it is a place for workshops and trainings," a statement from the protest group said. "Tonight, we were watching films and sharing food.

"We are now accused of a simple fire code violation," the statement said.

Oddie Miller, a 19-year-old from Fort Collins, Colorado, said it was "just a space to get food, free Internet, community organization."

"There were no bombs or anything in there," Miller said.

Thanks to jgodsey


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This page contains a single entry by Phil Leggiere published on August 31, 2008 1:34 AM.

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