I attended a celebratory party along with some Code Pink members who greeted several peace advocates who walked from Chicago to St Paul. I have pics and video from that wonderful event, but I thought it was more important to post this story about preemptive arrests at the RNC in St Paul.
After the party ended for the peace walkers, several of us travelled to 627 Smith St in St Paul, the site of a police raid last night. A press conference was being held. Among the speakers at the press conference who denounced the police action were Coleen Rowley, the former FBI agent and whistle blower, and Ann Wright, a retired Army Colonel and former member of the State Department.
According to eye witnesses, the police entered the theater/community center and cuffed all of the adults’ hands behind their backs. Materials and computers were confiscated. The same thing has reportedly been happening in other places where out of town RNC protesters were staying. During the press conference, we heard that persons who had come to St Paul to document using video police abuse were also arrested today. If their equipment and crews are detained, that will increase the likelihood of police abuse during the protest marches. In NY City, at the last RNC, many persons who were arrested had their charges dropped after video refuted false police allegations.
My still pictures show a poster on how to deal with the police at the door of the community center (the theater); the front of the theater on Smith Street where the press conference was held; my little Flip video camera that I used to record the press conference; and Ann Wright and others waving the plastic handcuffs that were used to restrain persons in the house - not all the persons attending the press conference were present during the raid.
My videos of the press conference have a lot more detail as well as a call for action.
The first one provides background information by Lisa Fithian, a 30 year peace and social justice advocate. She wrote the intro to Abbie Hoffman’s monograph titled “Steal this Book.”
The second one contains speeches by Veterans for Peace activists Michael McPhearson and Ann Wright. Michael McPhearson is the executive director for Veterans for Peace. Ann Wright served as a colonel in the Army and as a diplomat for the US Government. She resigned from the State Department out of protest the day before the US attacked Iraq in 2003. Her resignation letter, which was posted on the internet contained the following reasons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Wright
• The decision to invade Iraq without the blessing of the U.N. Security Council
• The "lack of effort" in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
• The "lack of policy" in regard to North Korea
The curtailment of civil liberties within the United States.
These arrests are about curtailment of civil liberties.
The next video presents the view of the father of one of the arrested persons.
Here is Coleen Rowley’s speech:
And this last one is a song by Tao Seeger, Pete Seeger’s grandson.