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RNC Glean: The best protest video, stories

First, a quick tale of the tape: 10,000 protesters (not 50,000 as advertised), 284 arrests, and "about 180 protesters who weren't part of the march caused trouble," according to St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington, via AP.

The math reveals context: 97 percent of the protesters didn't run afoul of the law, and Harrington seems to acknowledge at least 100 arrestees weren't doing anything wrong. The Strib's Curt Brown says 130 arrestees were charged with felonies. Remember, Sheriff Bob Fletcher predicted 800 to1,600 arrests.

Still, there was damage. Fox9 gets the best video of Macy's window-smashing (about three-quarters of the way into the segment). Tom Lyden's report also features "hooligans" bashing in bus benches (because, you know, the oppressed don't use mass transit). Later, one demonstrator is nearly trampled by a police horse. If you want to see pepper spray broadcast liberally from a big squeeze bottle, click here.

Here's a headline you want to click on: "Embedded with the anarchists." Minnesota Independent's Molly Priesmeyer tracked one 60-person group through the day and insists things weren't out of control. Her argument: Only five folks engaged in the worst stuff, such as smashing windows and throwing tire-shredding caltrops on streets. Possibly exculpatory: Some group members were mad at the window smashers. And they weren't litterers: after a dumpster was tipped, some picked up the trash.

For the less sympathetic, PiPresser Ben Garvin's video captures what appears to be a justified police pepper-spraying, part of an excellent text-photo-video package. The police used rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades, according to the story. Aside from the windows, a Minneapolis police car was damaged and several tires were slashed (including those on a Fox9 van). There's also a perfect image of the window-smashing.

On the other end of the truncheon, Minnesota Independent's Jeff Guntzel — who was hit by a police-fired canister — has a great photo diary here. There's lots of serious confrontation, but also an image of police "shot" by Silly String. You can read Guntzel's early report on being a canister-catcher here.

AP reports on an AP photographer getting arrested, along with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, who was protesting the seizure of two crew members. (Democracy Now, a national show, is a KFAI staple locally.) WCCO contributes raw video at the same link, as does Minnesota Independent. No charges were filed in the AP case; Democracy Now's status is unclear. Lots of independent journalists with shorter resumes than Goodman's have been swept up in the past few days.

MPR runs a prime shot of the Minneapolis police car's window being busted. St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington says police had gas and rocks thrown at them, reporters Elizabeth Stawicki and Michael Caputo note. Mayor Chris Coleman, watching surveillance cameras, praises police restraint, calling officers "heroic" and says "they did not fail." An ACLU lawyer says it's too soon to say if police responded appropriately, but a National Lawyers Guild rep tells the Strib police force was "unconscionable."

The Uptake offers a no-edited view of a Shepard Road confrontation. (It's only about four minutes long.) The marchers are clearly provocative, and you can practically feel the thunder of the police-fired canisters. Fox9 says 40 to 50 people were arrested there. Minnesota Independent's Andy Birkey has more video, including a boat in the Mississippi with a "Stop Torture" banner.

Politics in Minnesota's Dan Feit says police "lit up" activists with their gun-mounted lasers. That's according to at least one "experienced DFL activist."

KARE11's Boyd Huppert talks to some very non-anarchist-seeming arrestees, and an ACLU leader who makes you glad he was there. On the flip, a pretty rational cop expresses his appreciate of protest and disdain of violence. KARE11's Rick Kupchella notes there have already been twice as many arrests in St. Paul as in Denver.

Connecticut delegates say hooligans tried to rip the credentials off their necks and spray them with diluted bleach and salt, the PiPress's Bob Shaw and Tom Webb report. (As does Fox 9.) The Strib's Brown says an Alabama-delegate bus had a rock thrown through a window.

What about the 9,716 marchers who did nothing wrong? The Strib's Nick Coleman finds a gem, an alternate GOP convention delegate who marched wearing an Iraq War veteran's medal. Was the Texan a Ron Paul delegate? Coleman does castigate "small bands of Ninja-clad street punks who enjoy getting thumped" and notes "there was enough firepower on the street ... to annex Manitoba."

MinnPost's Steve Date offers a lyrical and comprehensive look at the day's marches and action here. (See other MinnPost coverage here, here and here.)

Violence obliterates context, so WCCO's Jason DeRusha ask a simple, excellently timed Good Question: "Why protest?" The answers are thoughtful and decent, hearkening back to true patriotism like the Boston Tea Party and civil rights marches.

"We have no respect for the twerps who destroyed property," write PiPress editorialists, adding that "It's only reasonable to conclude that the vandals' aim is to discredit the anti-war movement."

For a time, police cut off the only route between downtown and Harriet Island, where a Labor Day concert was happening, Minnesota Independent's Paul Schmelzer notes. The bridge was reopened at 9:30 p.m.

In happier times, MPR's Tim Nelson offered a colorful, pre-trouble panorama of the marchers.

Via MPR's Bob Collins, the Daily Show's bent look at Monday's protests. There's some epic shots of the snoozefest that turned out to be St. Paul's city-anoited "Free Speech" pulpit. "The Daily Show" broadcasts from St. Paul begin tonight.

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Comments (2)

Just as only a small percentage of march participants committed unlawful and/or violent acts, so too a small number of police officers arrested journalists for merely doing their jobs (including Amy Goodman and her two staff people), were unnecessarily rough with arrestees (nine had to be taken to a hospital; quite a few were pepper-sprayed and some were shot with rubber bullets), and who seemed to make up charges ("conspiracy to riot," for instance). The heavy hand of Homeland Security seemed evident, as did that of the politicized Justice Department (in my opinion).

The rest of the police sometimes seemed threatening because of their large numbers, their riot gear, their loud sirens and motorcycles, and their stoic expressions. I did not meet any anarchists who committed violent acts, but I did meet a half dozen young people from Ohio who called themselves anarchists who were as peaceable as any member of your neighborhood peace group.

"Remember, Sheriff Bob Fletcher predicted 800 to1,600 arrests."

Remember, the lefty media was promising 50,000 protesters. The Sheriff's arrest count as a percentage of actual participation tells a story of amazing restraint.

"An ACLU lawyer says it's too soon to say if police responded appropriately, but a National Lawyers Guild rep tells the Strib police force was "unconscionable."

Yeah, well David, having just recently had a bit of up close and personal experience with the National Lawyers Guild ( http://restraininorder.blogspot.com/2008/09/fine-representatives-of-lega... )I'd have to say they are the last group I'd look to for any information, if, you know, actually knowing anything about what they're talking about is important or anything.

(That's especially true if the information being relayed has anything to do with the law as practised in the United States.)