RNC Raids

So. The weirdness has begun in the Twin Cities. We will be blogging about our days during the RNC convention. Last night at 9:15 the RNC Welcoming Committee's Convergence Space was raided by a dozen police with guns, detaining, photographing and questioning over 60 people with no arrests.

This morning three houses were raided- a Food Not Bombs house and two houses of activists. Four people were presented with warrants and arrested. The houses were searched for bomb-making materials.

From www.rhubarbarism.com: At each location so far, Ramsey County Sheriff deputies working with local police and fire, have seized computers and literature, as well as testing substances in a mobile lab. Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI were also reportedly present at the raid on the 3500 block of Harriet Avenue.
Raids on activists' residences in Minneapolis started around 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. They involved houses on the 3200 block of 17th ave., the 3500 block of Harriet ave., and the 2300 block of 23rd ave.
The warrants gave police the right to search for "bomb-making" materials, which includes many commonplace household chemicals including soap flakes, paint, bleach, electronic devices like Mp3 players and communication devices, according to legal observers. The warrants for the Saturday raids also explicitly listed that police pursue "media in whatever form."

This afternoon another person-not a WC member, but ally was arrested while walking down the street. Of these 5 people, three are being held on conspiracy charges. Recently a house was raided on Iglehart St. in St. Paul, containing independent reporters. No arrests were made.

This afternoon a van was stopped in Minneapolis at gunpoint, handcuffed and detained. The van was followed from St. Paul in unmarked cars, was not searched, and there were no arrests.

A meeting was held in Powderhorn Park this morning to dispel rumors and update the community. A woman reported returning home after the Convergence Space raid to find her garage had been broken into, boxes opened, but nothing was missing.

The houses that were raided are facing the possibility of being boarded up due to code violations. Indymedia had a "routine fire inspection" come through this morning.

The Convergence Space has reopened, a press release was held at 4pm, and talks are continuing as planned at 7:30.

If you want to keep updated, follow these Twitter accts: RNC08, RNC08_bike, RNC08_legal, RNC08_police, RNC08_announce, RNC08_bridges, coldsnaplegal

A PDF for one of the search warrants can be found here:http://tinyurl.com/6dgos7

In another search warrant, "hollowed out puppets" were listed. ?!?!?

Maps and video of the raids are here: http://theuptake.org/

Also, two NLG lawyers were kicked out of a law enforcement press release today.

Well, it's now 6pm and that's the news. Rude Mechanical Orchestra is playing at a benefit for the IWW Starbucks Workers Union tonight...some fun diversion. More later.

Rude Mechanical Orchestra

After leaving the Bedlam Theatre, Rude Mechanical Orchestra was followed by five police and pulled over. In the end, the RMO bus of thirty people was let go and no one detained...for now.

mass random arrests

I'm volunteering on the street at the RNC in St. Paul this week, with one of the radref binders and other legal sheets and info for a group called Coldsnap.

I was arrested along with about 100 other members of the public in a park earlier this evening - none of us were doing anything other than walking along an open riverside path.

The path (along the Mississippi) was open to the public for people to listen to a concert that was taking place on an island in the middle of the river (Harriet Island). Police in riot gear suddenly started pepper-spraying and tear-gassing a group of people under a bridge about 200 yards in front of us.

The police then formed a line and started herding us backwards, but before we could leave the area, another line of police formed behind us, totally blocking us in.
We were told by bullhorn that we were all under arrest, and that we all had to sit on the ground with our hands on our heads. This included teenagers, families, and elderly people who had been trying to cross a bridge to get to Harriet island to listen to the concert.
People were then randomly chosen for arrest. I was taken away and handcuffed, while my husband, who was sitting next to me, was not arrested.

This was an insane violation of rights - the National Lawyers Guild Legal observers were there on site, and witnessed and documented everything that happened - in fact several of them were also arrested randomly. Most people who were handcuffed were booked, taken to jail, and served citations, including many teenagers who were walking to meet family members on Harriet Island.

On the bright side, my husband grabbed the radref binder after I was taken away, so he was waiting with that for me after I was released several hours later.

Librarians are so dangerous...

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