Latest from St. Paul: pepper spray, tear gas & percussion grenades

by on September 2, 2008 · 0 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Election

Posted by: Andy Sullivan / Reuters / September 2, 2008
Police fire tear gas at protesters near the Xcel Energy Center, the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) September 2, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Eric Thayer, Getty Images)The invigorating scent of pepper spray perfumed downtown St. Paul again on Tuesday.

Police used percussion grenades, tear gas and pepper spray to push protesters out of downtown at the end of an otherwise peaceful march for poor people that drew more than 1,000 participants.he event largely avoided the chaos that engulfed the area on Monday, when bands of black-clad anarchists smashed store windows and threw rocks and bottles at police.

Police said they had made 10 arrests over the course of the day, far short of the 284 arrested on Monday.

Earlier Tuesday, anarchists vowed further disruptions througout the week. The Secret Service warned that some might target journalists.

Tuesday’s march, organized by the Poor People’s Human Economic Human Rights Campaign, picked up steam after it passed the State Capitol, where the police had canceled a performance by the rock band Rage Against the Machine.

Protesters headed downtown, and organizers tried to deliver a message to the Republicans through the security fence surrounding the Xcel Center, where Republicans were holding their convention. Many protesters went home after that.

St. Paul Police Commander Doug Holtz said there were several groups of 100 or so who were ordered to disperse but refused to do so. Some tried to climb over the security fence surrounding the Xcel Center, he said.

The confrontation took place near Mickey’s Diner, a neon landmark that stays open 24 hours – a rarity in sleepy St. Paul.

Police herded the protesters back toward the State Capitol, blocks from the XCel Center and the plate-glass windows of downtown.

By 9 p.m., most proteseters had dispersed. Were they done for the night, or were they simply lying low?

For a clue, check the anarchists’ Twitter feed.

(Additional reporting by Mallika Rao, Jackie Frank and Adam Pasick)  Go here for the original article.

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