On September 1st, over ten thousand people marched in the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota to protest the Republican National Convention while demanding peace, justice and equality. The permitted demonstration, with over two years of planning, was organized by The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War. The Coalition is made up of more than 130 organizations, including anti-war coalitions in the U.S, immigrant rights organizations, trade unions, low income and community groups.
Shortly after 11:00am on September 1st, three people were arrested in the streets of St. Paul near Seventh and Goodrich. This portion of town has been dubbed “Sector 4” by groups protesting in the streets on this first day of the Republican National Convention.
A group of people were followed by St. Paul police in their car. Some people in the group began to push garbage cans down a residential street. More police quickly arrived on the scene, jumped out of a black tactical van, pepper sprayed the group and then tackled three people. Three people in the group were handcuffed, searched and taken away in the back of police cars.
On August 31st, members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) were accompanying their fellow worker, Erik Forman, to his first day back on the job at Starbucks in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Erik was recently fired for labor organizing, although that was not the official explanation given by Starbucks.
Police from Plymouth, a town outside of Bloomington, prevented Erik’s supporters from getting off the light-rail and entering the mall. Erik was eventually allowed into the mall so he could get to work, although he was late as a result of all the police harassment and misinformation.
On August 31st, the day before the Republican National Convention (RNC), Veterans for Peace held a rally in front of the state capitol building in St. Paul, Minnesota followed by a solemn march. Families of US soldiers and other marchers carried tombstones with the names of dead US soldiers. Meanwhile, the names of murdered Iraqis were read out loud and people responded, “We Remember.”
Towards the end of the march, organizers gave people the option of continuing along the police approved route or to engage in civil disobedience by towards a caged off area. A handful of people, including two women in their 70s, either rolled under or walked around the police fence and were eventually arrested.