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<nettime> [Fwd: [pga na] Poor People's Campaign Attacked, Anarchist Convergence Center Raided in Saint Paul]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [pga na] Poor People's Campaign Attacked, Anarchist Convergence 
Center Raided in Saint Paul
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 00:22:20 -0700 (PDT)

Police break down doors in night-time raid on anarchist meeting
By Mary Turck , TC Daily Planet
August 30, 2008

I heard somebody saying, ‘They’re coming, they’re coming!’ And feet
pounding on the back stairs, pounding on the door saying they had a search
warrant. They busted through the door. They’ve got their guns cocked at
people.” Sammy Schutz held tightly to five-year-old Gabe, who had been
watching a video with his mother and father and about 20 other people when
the police stormed into 827 Smith Avenue in St. Paul, ordering everyone
down on the floor.

“All I could feel was Mama Bear—do whatever you want to do to me, but I
need to get my son out safe. He was watching his dad get handcuffed. And
he’s saying, ‘Mommy, mommy, why did they crash through the door?’”

Gabe’s question remained unanswered. Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies said
they were executing a search warrant, but would not show a copy of the
warrant to lawyers or reporters. More than a dozen police vehicles ,
almost all unmarked, and more than 20 sheriff’s deputies and St. Paul
police arrived at the building about 9:45 Friday night and were still
there at 1 a.m., when I left.

After handcuffing the people in the building (occupants said there were
about two dozen on the second floor and “about 40 or 50” on the first
floor), police processed them one by one. Each person was asked for
identification, name and address, and then photographed.

People who had been inside the building told similar stories of police
entering with guns drawn. They said police rushed past the security desk
on the first floor, and used a battering ram to crash through the second
floor back door.

“They said if you don’t show us ID and get your picture taken, we will
arrest you and take you away,” said Michelle Gross, president of
Communities United Against Police Brutality, who had arrived five or ten
minutes before the raid began, planning to attend a meeting. “They never
said what the basis for arrests would be. We were waiting for a meeting,
for God’s sake! I cannot tell you how much like a police state that felt
to me.”

After each person was released after being photographed, exiting the
building and crossing between police cars to a crowd of cheering friends
on the sidewalk across from the building. No one was arrested, but
sheriff’s deputies remained inside the building.

Eventually, a city contractor arrived to board up the building, allegedly
for unspecified code violations.

St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune said he was trying to find out who
ordered the building locked up and on what grounds. “This isn’t the way we
do things in St. Paul,” Thune said. “I don’t want the city to get sucked
into something that the sheriff’s office is concocting.”

Thune said that someone had called in the city contractor and ordered him
to secure the building, but this was not done according ot St. Paul city

“Normally,” said Thune, “we only board up buildings that are vacant and
ramshackle. The fire inspector has no idea what’s going on. He hadn’t been
called. The person who is on 24/7 call was not called. I talked to him
trying to fid out who did issue that order and why.”

The building at 827 Smith Avenue had been rented by the RNC Welcoming
Committee as a “convergence space,” open to activists for meetings,
eating, and just hanging out. Earlier in the week, a large downstairs room
in the former theater held tables of literature and about a dozen
computers, set up for free wi-fi access for visitors. Large maps showed
downtown St. Paul streets. The kitchen was spotless, with stainless steel
refrigerators and a gas range, looking like a commercial kitchen in a
church basement. The second floor room, where Sammy and her family were
watching a video on consumerism Friday night, had comfortable theater
seats and space for meetings.


St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak
(612) 673-2100
(612) 673-3000 outside Minneapolis


At 2pm Thursday afternoon, the Poor People's Campaign set up a tent city -
"Bushville" - on Harriet Island, on the south side of the Mississippi
River from downtown St. Paul.

UPDATE Friday morning: Corporate media reports that 2 more activists at
Bushville were arrested peacefully; the rest of the activists obeyed the
order to disperse. Activists plan to return to Harriet Island today.

1:15 AM: The Pioneer Press is reporting: Negotiations for the campers'
departure began about 11:30 p.m. Most of the protesters left after being
threatened with arrest, but at least two were arrested.

TC-IMC UPDATE 11:45 PM: Several activists leaving Harriet Island were
detained by police. One was arrested and the others were allowed to go.

At approximately 11:30 a caravan of about 10 squad cars and a paddywagon
entered the park. Likely close to at least 100 cops surrounding the
encampment. Situation developing. We will continue reports as we receive
them by phone.

TC-IMC UPDATE 11:16 PM: 15-20 riot cops in full gear have entered park
'getting ready to go'.

TC-IMC UPDATE 11:14 PM: Police on bikes have surrounded area around
encampment. About 50 cops. Other people in the park are not being hassled
by police. There is a large van which appears to have plastic handcuffs -
mass arrests possible. Situation developing.

TC-IMC UPDATE 10:59 PM: Police massing on bridge and from west end of
Harriet Island park. Appear to be getting into formation & in a 'decision
taking' type of mode. Police on bikes & receiving orders. Park legally
closes @ 11 PM. [And so it begins...]


MPR is reporting the following:
Police say the protesters need to leave by 11 tonight, when the park
closes. Camping isn't allowed in any of the city parks. Officers say they
hope to avoid using force when removing the activists tonight. One police
cruiser is on the scene, but so far no arrests have been made.


The tent city is in need of support - tarps, water, food, amenities, and
people to camp (provided they are sober, respectful, and willing to
respect the leadership of the camp) and provide a supportive presence of
this space. Come to Harriet Island!




The ramsey county sheriff’s dept and the SPPD raided the RNC convergence
space and detained over 50 people in an attempt to preempt planned
protests of the rnc on Monday.

Looking for items found in any twin cities house like jars, paint, and
rags, this attempt to portray us as criminals and destroy our credibility
has already backfired as evidenced by the masses who have come to support

We are now accused of a simple fire code violation -which is outside the
scope of the sheriffs department and clearly not justified provocation for
a forceful raid with guns being drawn. Children and elderly people were
inside the convergence center when the police violently busted down the
doors. The police may claim that the raid was executed according to
protocol - however, the violence inherent in this action may only be a
hint of the violence to be expected on Monday and beyond, and is only a
hint at the violence perpetrated daily by the police.

The convergence center is simply a gathering place and is not used for
illegal actions - it is a place for workshops and trainings. Tonight we
were watching films and sharing food.

This action will not deter us from our plans to protest the RNC on
September 1st. We want to invite all people who oppose this police
oppression to join us on Septemeber 1st. See you in the streets.


gpg:  0x5B77079C // encrypted email preferred
gaim/skype: djlotu5 // off the record messaging preferred

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