Photo essay: Republican National Convention as viewed from the streets of St. Paul

September 02, 2008 by barbara

Holy crap! The Gestapo is not being Minnesota Nice!Holy crap! The Gestapo is not being Minnesota Nice!barbara writes

“Hey! Help!! I’m marching with the media people, and we’re caught between the riot police and the rest of the protesters. This is crazy!”

No kidding. My pal Louise made a last-minute decision to put herself square in the belly of the beast. She drove into downtown St. Paul to check out the likely standoff between weirdly buff cops in riot gear (Blackwater?) who were pitted against families with children, mostly older Veterans for Peace, and assorted other protesters (most of them with noble agendas, a few with no agenda beyond ugly confrontation).

The good news for Louise is that she’s too white to have been at risk of having her head bashed to the cement on the Seventh Place mall, unlike what happened to one blameless young brown-skinned man. And I should mention that nearby RNC revelers applauded the cops’ brutality. Read more.

Louise got out of St. Paul without being arrested. Also before the tear-gas, pepper-spray and billy clubs were fully deployed. But not before she had a chance to take some photos.

Here’s a mini photo essay of Louise’s Xcellent Adventure, captioned by barbara who sat this one out.

The rabble gathers for a protest marchThe rabble gathers for a protest march
The rabble gathers for the protest march.

The storm troopers align themselves in preparation for the appearance of the rabble on the savage streets of St. Paul.The storm troopers align themselves in preparation for the appearance of the rabble on the savage streets of St. Paul.
The storm troopers align themselves in preparation for the appearance of the rabble on the formerly peaceful streets of St. Paul.

Very scary Veterans for Peace assemble for the march.Very scary Veterans for Peace assemble for the march.
Very scary Veterans for Peace assemble for the march.

The waiting and watching escalates as Wabash becomes a bona fide mean street.The waiting and watching escalates as Wabash becomes a bona fide mean street.
The waiting and watching escalates as Wabasha becomes a bona fide mean street.

Meanwhile, the Darths can be seen protecting The Fitz Theater. This must make Garrison Keillor feel vastly safer.Meanwhile, the Darths can be seen protecting The Fitz Theater. This must make Garrison Keillor feel vastly safer.
Meanwhile, the Darths can be seen protecting The Fitz Theater. This must make Garrison Keillor feel vastly safer.

Quiz: What's wrong with this picture? Oh, wait, the storm troopers are protecting Mickey's Diner (see right center of photo), which is just behind the barrier that makes it off limits to anyone but Rethuglicans. Crap!Quiz: What's wrong with this picture? Oh, wait, the storm troopers are protecting Mickey's Diner (see right center of photo), which is just behind the barrier that makes it off limits to anyone but Rethuglicans. Crap!
What's wrong with this picture? Oh, wait, the storm troopers are protecting Mickey's Diner (see right center of photo), which is just behind the barrier that makes it off limits to anyone but Rethuglicans. Crap!

And here are the real perpetrators of the violence that ensued. Smack 'em down, boys. Smack 'em down.And here are the real perpetrators of the violence that ensued. Smack 'em down, boys. Smack 'em down.
And here are the real perpetrators of the violence that ensued. Smack 'em down, boys. Smack 'em down.

St. Paul, Minnesota. The town where nothing much ever happens. Frankly, I liked it better when that was true.

(Thanks for your photos, girlfriend!)

Posted in

Comments

Barb (not verified) | September 2, 2008 - 8:01pm

it was announced at the RNC that the gathering was designed to unite and elect Governor Sarah PAWLENTY as the next VP of the United States.
what hasn't Sarah Palin told us?
or what has Tim Pawlenty kept from us?

»

barbara says (not verified) | September 2, 2008 - 9:46pm

Sarah Pawlenty, eh? Funny.

The night Obama spoke in St. Paul (in the same Xcel Center that is now housing - - - The Others), someone on MSNBC referred to our gov as Tim Polenta.

The obsession with Sarah Palin is really something, isn't it? Wonder if her veepness will last the week.

»

susan | September 3, 2008 - 11:32am

You say Polenta, I say Pawlenty. Anyhow, so glad you posted these photos Barb. (thanks Louise)
Several CLB readers have written to me asking about our police state, our mayors, and whether "my" newspaper can be trusted in its reporting of what's been going on. And I've not answered, or posted, because I purposely have stayed in Michigan until the Repubs clear out of my once-fair Twin Cities. I could not envision going to a restaurant, or leaving the house for that matter, without bumping into frothing Republican conventioneers. I pictured traffic tie-ups and other inconveniences and decided to wait until it's all over. I did not picture the police attacking people on their way to concerts and gassing families with children.
So, on the police state, all I know is what I read from friends, and yes, it's apparently horrifyingly real. Here's this account from one woman:
"My sister and I went to the Provention peace concert (phenomenal show) at the Fitzgerald theatre last night and were prevented from entering by the police until the protests finished a block away. The cops blocked off the side streets during a peaceful march to 'End the war on the poor'. They prevented anyone else from joining the march; their presence alone made me want to join the march. I've NEVER been around scary hostile cops like these boys. Many of them had southern accents so they're shipping them in from all over the country. A few blocks away they set off tear gas and smoke bombs into the crowd of protesters which included families with children. Dear god, big brother is here!"
Another friend wrote to me that her son's best friend, a high school kid, was on the way to a concert when he was stopped, handcuffed and put in jail. They took away his shirt and he sat in his cell shivering with cold until his parents were finally able to see him and get him out at 3 a.m. His father is a lawyer at the biggest firm in Mpls

As for our mayors, I like them both. (yes, Minneapolis and St. Paul really are two different cities.) They're generally on "our" side, so I'm anxious to get home and find out how this came to be. I think it's true that there is a group of "anarchists", many of them young punks from out-of-state, whose sole intention is disruption. They're the ones tossing benches through shop windows and so on. But surely they could have been managed without this massive crack-down on everyone in their swath. I wonder who ordered up this police state, the city governments or the RNC. Anyone know?

Finally, can "my" paper (the Mpls. Star-Trib) be trusted? A few years ago I would have said yes. Under the new regime, I'm not so sure. And seeing as I'm not there, and I'm not reading the paper, I have no idea. Anyone?

»

Peggy (not verified) | September 4, 2008 - 4:16pm

Thanks so much for the photo's and sharing your thoughts....keep up the great work!

»