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Greens condemn brutal 'police state' raids, arrests of peaceful protesters and journalists

Guest Scott McLarty

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Guest Scott McLarty

Green Party leaders strongly condemned the brutal police assaults, raids, and arrests on dubious charges targeted at peaceful protesters gathering near the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.


Among those arrested and brutalized are journalists, including Amy Goodman and other Democracy Now! staff (http://www.democracynow.org), and antiwar and progressive activists.


Police have attacked nonviolent demonstrators with concussion grenades, tear gas, pepper spray, and tasers and have raided meetings and activists' homes.


Police raided the home of Michael Whelan, a long-time Green Party supporter whose Arise Bookstore once housed the party's local office (see Green Party of Minnesota press release, Sept. 1, http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=99).


Video: "Police Raid In St. Paul of Green Party Activists' Home" http://the-uptake.groups.theuptake.org/en/...eryView/id/620/ (Caption: "Police prepare to raid a home in St. Paul in connection with the RNC protests. According to neighbors, the family that lives in the duplex has never been any problem and are members of the Green Party.")


Greens are leading and participating in protest actions and rallies throughout the week. On Monday, Green Party vice-presidential nominee Rosa Clemente addressed the antiwar marchers in St. Paul and appeared with the National Truth Commission on Poverty.


Minneapolis City Council members Cam Gordon (Green Party) and Elizabeth Glidden (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) have issued a statement condemning the actions of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, whose office conducted raids in Minneapolis and St. Paul last weekend (http://www.minnpost.com/politicalagenda/2008/09/01/3244/two_minneapolis_council_members_decry_weekend_raids).


"America needs to know what's going on in Minnesota. The police state actions that Americans deplored in China during the Olympics are happening here in the US, outside the Republican convention. Reporters from all media should be outraged at the brutal treatment of their fellow journalists," said Mark Dunlea, an attorney, former Chair of the Green Party of New York State and a long-time host of Capitol Report, a public affairs radio show.


Greens compared the police actions in the Twin Cities to the police riot that occurred outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and noted that police harassment also occurred outside of last week's Democratic convention in Denver, though not with the intensity now unfolding in Minnesota.


Minneapolis and St. Paul police have worked with the FBI through the Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force to plant informants among antiwar, antipoverty, and other groups in the months before the GOP convention. Given the amount of infiltration, some Greens warn that the few protesters who have committed acts of violence should be suspected of being agents provocateurs.


"The raids and arrests aren't keeping the peace. On the contrary, what's happening is a breakdown of law and order. It's a result of the heightened infiltration and unwarranted surveillance under the Bush Administration's domestic spying program, aimed at people who've broken no laws," said Jill Bussiere, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.


"The charges that police and Feds are leveling during the arrests are unsupported by evidence, and they know it. We've seen it before -- most of the charges will be dropped and the few cases that go to trial will end in acquittal. The arrests and home assaults are meant to intimidate people from exercising their right to peaceful protest," said Cres Vellucci, California Green and member of the ACLU board of directors in Sacramento.


Greens have urged Americans outraged by the actions of police and federal officials to call St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at 651-266-8510 to protest the arrests, raids, and brutality and to demand punishment of police officials abusing their power.


On-the-scene news and updates:

Twin Cities Independent Media Center: http://twincities.indymedia.org/

Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org

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