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Convention Beat: September 4, 2008 Archive

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Raging against the machine

Posted at 7:57 AM on September 4, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

More than 100 people were arrested in Minneapolis last night after a Rage Against the Machine concert at Target Center.

It had a bit of a familiar ring to it. The Poor People's Economic Human Rights March through downtown St. Paul was a pretty subdued affair until the impromptu Rage Against the Machine appearance on the Capitol mall ended and the crowd decided to hook up with the parade.

20070314_tom_morello.jpgThe guitarist for RATM, Tom Morello, is no stranger to politics, though. He's got his own political movement, of sorts: the Axis of Justice. The video from the Web site over there is an interesting glimpse into what was going on in St. Paul on Tuesday night before the crowd got all downtown, as it were.

You can also find out more about Morello performing as his current political alter-ego, The Night Watchman, right here. (In the interest of full disclosure, both my kids can sing his "One Man Revolution" by heart.)

"This generation needs new songs of protest," he says of his work, a good measure of it on a Woody Guthrie-esque acoustic guitar.

The Current's Steve Seel did an interview with Morello at last year's South by Southwest show, and the RATM front man explains that politics are part and parcel of his work. You can hear that here.

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What to do in MSP when it's the last day of the RNC

Posted at 11:50 AM on September 4, 2008 by Molly Bloom (0 Comments)

Today is the last day of the Republican National Convention, which also means time is running out to partake in any convention week fun.

Here are some of your options:

Ralph Nader Super Rally at Orchestra Hall Their website says that musician Nellie McKay will perform, Nader himself will speak as will Jesse Ventura. After making an appearance at Ron Paul's rally yesterday, Ventura shows he's comfortable on both the left and the right.

Youth Against War and Racism march: Students are walking out of class right now in order to attend this afternoon's march starting at the Capitol.

The UnConvention American Politics Sideshow : Lectures, prizes, reenactments, music and hula hoops. You can check out the sideshow at the Weisman Art Museum until 9 p.m.

Stay out until 4. a.m.: Tonight's your last chance to stay out drinking until the wee hours of the next morning. Some of your options include The Local, Aqua, The Liffey and The Happy Gnome.

What other fun are you going to have on the RNC's last day in town?

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Can't find your credentials?

Posted at 12:52 PM on September 4, 2008 by Molly Bloom (0 Comments)

They just might have fallen into the hands of protesters. MPR reporter Laura Yuen sends in this tidbit:

During the convention Wednesday night, two protesters believed to be with the anti-war group Code Pink were escorted out of the Xcel Energy Center after heckling the speakers.

St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington said they had the proper credentials to get onto the convention floor. "They were dressed pretty much like all the rest of the convention-goers there," he said.

But after getting inside the center, Harrington said they changed out of their black dresses and into their outfits, "which I believe were pink." He said officers escorted the protesters off the grounds but did not make any arrests. He did not know how the hecklers obtained the RNC credentials, which he said were apparently legitimate.

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St. Paul businesses closing early?

Posted at 3:23 PM on September 4, 2008 by Molly Bloom (1 Comments)

I spoke with Andrea Shackelford at the Caribou Coffee in Town Square (in the skyway) and she told us that they spoke with cops today who recommended that Caribou close early. She says that the police are concerned about the protests scheduled for later this afternoon.

James Lockwood from the Joint Information Center says that no official orders or requests for businesses to close early have been made by the Police Department, but it's possible that officers have had informal conversations with businesses.

TCF Bank, also in the skyway, has closed early. I will update if we find any other businesses doing so. Have you encountered any businesses in downtown St. Paul closing early?

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UPDATE: Protesters heading back towards Capitol

Posted at 6:06 PM on September 4, 2008 by Molly Bloom (0 Comments)

The police have announced that those gathered at the Capitol for the Anti-War Committee protest will be part of an "unlawful assembly" if they stay past 5 p.m. when their permit expires.

The protesters have now started marching and their intent is to get to the Xcel Energy Center. They do not have a permit to do so, but they will keep going until the police stop them, MPR reporter Sea Stachura reports.

UPDATE (5:08 p.m.)
:The march has now stopped on John Ireland over I-94 as police on horseback and on foot are blocking the way.

UPDATE (5:18 p.m.):The march has now turned into a sit-in on the John Ireland bridge.

UPDATE (5:38 p.m.): Sea Stachura sends in this picture of the scene on the bridge:


UPDATE (6:05 p.m.): The protesters have taken a vote and are now heading back the way they came.

UPDATE (6:22 p.m.):Protesters now at 12th and Cedar. Police have blocked off Cedar with dump trucks to prevent the protesters from coming south on Cedar.

UPDATE (6:42 p.m.): Police on horseback are moving the crowd west on 12th St.

UPDATE (7:20 p.m.): Mounted police have left. The situation seems calm, but cops and protesters are still not dispersing.

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Fun for the whole family

Posted at 7:36 PM on September 4, 2008 by Molly Bloom (0 Comments)

MPR's Melody Ng (of Melody's Olympics fame) wrote this post on what to do with the kids and pets when protesting:

"Who would bring their kids to a protest???!" One of our colleagues was outraged at seeing parents pushing strollers past police in riot gear on Monday and Tuesday. Not a big deal--some might say an educational, family experience, even--during a peace march. But what about after one's seen photos of tear gas clouds?

Today during the Youth Against War and Racism's "March to Arrest the War Criminals" (the rally for which high school and college students were supposed to walk out of class), we watched a Saint Bernard on leash loll past our building, just behind the chanting students.

So what's proper protest protocol? When do you decide to leave the pets and kids at home?

The RNC Welcoming Committee, the anarchist group that we've been hearing about all week as they go about the mission of "crash[ing] the convention," seems to have thought through the kid safety issue. Its Web site seeks volunteer childcare providers during the RNC. It also reassures "radical parents" that they can protest away (from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. when the childcare center is open), confident in the knowledge that their kids are under the care of people with "significant childcare experience," have plenty of "child-friendly, outdoor space," and are noshing on "vegetarian or vegan food and organic milk." Parents are just supposed to pre-register so organizers know how many kids to expect.

And apparently some parents have taken advantage of this offer. The person who answered the phone for the RNC Welcoming Committee just now (he said he couldn't give me his name) said at any given time one to about six kids, ages 2-6, are on site with several volunteers looking after them.

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