Two area bloggers are doing a bang-up job (that's probably the wrong phrase) documenting the two major protests that have degenerated into scuffles with police in St. Paul over the last two days.
The Adventures of Johnny Northside blog has a compelling blow-by-blow description (that's probably the wrong phrase) of the action outside Mickey's Diner:
10th7th and St. Peter, in front of Mickey's Diner, a group of protesters taunted police. At one point, police appeard to push the crowd or lunge at the crowd. A half-filled plastic water bottle came sailing through the air toward the officers. Police appeared to spray something into the crowd, but no distinctive pepper spray odor was apparent. There was a discussion among some members of the crowd whether "bunk gas" was being utilized: something made to seem like pepper spray to scare off a mob, but without much actual physical effect.
Meanwhile, highly-regarded local blogger Aaron Landry documented the scene on Monday at one of St. Paul's hot spots -- Jackson Street -- where he and a friend convinced a woman to give them a ride out of the danger...
The most unnerving moment was on our way out. A man in a gas mask stood in front of the SUV staring at our driver to her the face, refusing to move. The ugly face of terrorism was standing in front of her vehicle. She froze, with her hands on the wheel and did not honk or try to move. It was a frightening scene. I yelled, "go around him" and Stacy opened her door and yelled, "Get the **** out of the way, we're press" and another man yelled, "if you're press, ****ing cover this!" Meanwhile, the mob was coming up behind us.
Stacy's a concert photographer, lawyer and music blogger. I'm an IT Manager for a design firm, social media consultant and blogger. We were doing citizen photojournalistic roles and the situation changed where we decided that our safety was more important than covering the event.
Both blogs are an example of journalism at its finest, especially during a difficult story. They both also prove that the written word remains the most powerful medium.
(Update) Media watcher David Brauer has an excellent first-person account from AP photographer Matt Rourke, who was detained on Monday, but who's gotten little notice because his parents didn't name him Amy Goodman.
My wife and I were unwitting "anarchists" last night when we decided to have dinner at Ruam Mit Thai before going to the Provention concert at the Fitzgerald. We watched what appeared to be a peaceful march down 10th St. Then riot cops blocked off all routes out of the area except to the west. We saw them spraying something into the crowd and two people down on the ground apparently hit by the substance. When we tried to walk north past Ruam we were told there was a "situation" in that area and we couldn't go there. I had the nerve to tell a cop that they were making things worse by blocking all the routes out of the area.
This is Johnny Northside. I corrected my blog to reflect the fact it was 7th and St. Peter, not 10th, and noted the correction accordingly.
Sorry. I was running from the tear gas.