||Posted: Sep. 02 2008,14:52
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The march took a route that went in front of the Excel Center, the site of the RNC - though, once in that area, marchers had to walk in an area with huge fencing on both sides of them. While there was hardly any police presence at the rally site or with the march itself, there was a massive police operation in the downtown area, especially near the Convention Center. The march route turned around at this point and returned to the starting location on the lawn of the State Capitol. All but a few hundred people left the downtown area, exhausted and hot but glad to have been a part of this important mass mobilization against the war.
Some people stayed downtown; and before too long, there were confrontations with the police. I was not in attendance downtown during the melee, and I'm not able to report back firsthand, but from the information that I have received and heard, it is clear that the police overreacted and used excessive force, using pepper spray, hitting people with batons, pushing people back with horses, and much more. Regardless of how we feel about the activities of the some of the people in downtown St. Paul, the actions of the police force were deplorable. In the end, the police arrested 284 people, including at least four journalists.
United For Peace and Justice was proud to have been part of the locally-led coalition that organized the demonstration, and we congratulate the organizers for a job well-done. We are pleased that we helped get the word out and mobilized people to be at this march and other activities in St. Paul during the RNC, just as we did in Denver for the DNC.
We urge you to keep watching the news to see how things unfold in the next few days, especially in terms of police conduct. They need to know that people around the country are watching!
UFPJ was also working to spread the word about the major national mobilization, Million Doors for Peace, scheduled for September 20. A group of staff and volunteers was actively leafleting in both Denver and St. Paul, at a whole host of locations in both cities, to ensure that people and the groups they are associated with become involved in this very important mobilization.
More information on the Million Doors for Peace mobilization will be sent out shortly. To hear more about this effort, click here and sign-up to be a volunteer, willing to knock on forty doors in your own neighborhood for voter education, petition-signing, and other related items. You can sign-up here to volunteer for this effort.