H/T firedoglake Hundreds of Demonstrators Detained at RNC By: Lindsay Beyerstein Police detained hundreds demonstrators on the final night of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Approximately 250 people were arrested shortly before John McCain took to the stage to accept the presidential nomination. That’s in addition to the 422 people who had already been arrested earlier in the week. Riot police held approximate 300 people, including journalists and observers for nearly an hour on an overpass spanning Interstate 94. Police instructed the crowd to get on the bridge, then announced that everyone on the bridge was under arrest. The Joint Information Center offered conflicting accounts about the status of the assembly permits for last night’s gatherings. When I called at 4pm, a spokesman told me that the organizers of the March were slated to march from the capitol, through downtown, around the xCel Center and back to the capitol and that the protest was set to go until 7pm. By 5pm, CNN was reporting that the cops on the ground were telling protesters that their permit had expired. According to some reports, Sheriff Bob Fletcher announced that he was rescinding permits at news conference late Thursday afternoon, but when I called to confirm, the Joint Information Center told me that no permits had been revoked. Journalist Paul Demko was briefly arrested and flex cuffed on the bridge. By Thursday, the police had learned that it’s bad PR to arrest journalists and protest observers along with demonstrators. Mind you, they still cuffed them, but they segregated them and let them go early. According to one theory, the group on the bridge was a breakaway from a separate gathering, which was not permitted to march through downtown–hence the arrests on the bridge. Police used tear gas, concussion grenades and pepper spray to control the crowd. The RNC took out a $10 million insurance policy to pay off police brutality settlements. This is the first time party host committee agreed to take out such a policy. I wonder how high their deductible is.
RNC ends as it began… with protests.
By Jonathan Adams Sep 05, 2008