For Immediate Release: September 4, 2008
Anti-War Committee’s “No Peace for the War-Makers” demonstration denied right to protest at Xcel Center
On Thursday September 4, the final day of the Republican National Convention, the Anti-War Committee held a permitted rally at 4pm at the Minnesota State Capitol to protest Senator McCain’s nomination as the Republican candidate for president. Individuals and groups expressed their opposition to the war in Iraq and as well as to attacks on other communities at home and abroad. The rally was attended by 2,000 people who heard fiery speakers and listened to the protest music of local band Junkyard Empire.
However the permitted rally was repeatedly interrupted by the police who tried to provoke the audience into a confrontation. At one point the cops stormed into the center of the crowd and arrested two people who were listening to music. The police continued to intimidate the protest by surrounding the back of the stage during the rally.
After the demonstration, over a 1,000 protesters marched towards the RNC despite the police presence and the city’s refusal to give the Anti-War Committee a permit to march during the evening session. Protestors expressed their outrage at the war by marching and chanting without a permit as an act of civil disobedience. Three hundred and ninety six people have were arrested while trying to march and for observing and supporting people trying to march. During the march there were several police provacateurs and undercover officers. Despite their attempts to incite a riot, protestors maintained calm and did not engage in any confrontations with them. The majority of the Anti-War Committee leadership was arrested for leading the march. After the first round of leaders were arrested, the second round of AWC leadership stepped up. Within five minutes of leading chants the police surged into the crowd and arrested the new level of leadership who were leading chants. The police showed their true colors once again by violently ending the protest with concussion grenades, mace, and tear gas after over three hours of protestors holding the streets.
Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee explained, “Protesters felt that tonight was an important night to demonstrate in St. Paul. The eyes of the world are on John McCain tonight. We felt it was imperative that his message of war did not go unchallenged. The police and the city of St. Paul decided to make downtown a Republican speech zone, but our demonstration challenged their decision.”
The demonstration was endorsed locally by the Welfare Rights Committee, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and Students for a Democratic Society – U of MN, and nationally by the Colombia Action Network, the Troops Out Now Coalition, the International Action Center, and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition.
The Anti-War Committee has been organizing rallies, protests, and educational events in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. They stand in solidarity with communities at home and abroad who are oppressed by U.S. policy and are committed to building a broad movement for social justice and peace.
1313 5th St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Below are YouTube videos taken by protesters and reporters at the demonstration No Peace for the War Makers. This footage demonstrates the unity and militancy of the crowd as well as the repression and hostility of the police. We are proud that our anti-war message got out despite police and City of St. Paul efforts to silence us and that these videos keep spreading our message on YouTube.