Welcome to Peace News, the newspaper for the UK grassroots peace and justice movement. We seek to oppose all forms of violence, and to create positive change based on cooperation and responsibility. See more
"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky
RNC "police state"
On 3 September, the last of the four days of the US Republican National Convention (RNC) in St Paul, Minnesota, demonstrators attempting to march on the convention centre after 5pm (when the permit to demonstrate expired) were met by police in riot gear using snow-ploughs, horses and dump trucks to stop the march.
At about midnight, police in riot gear encircled people leaving a Rage Against the Machine gig and made some 150 arrests including four distinctively attired “Peace Team” members, there to prevent anyone from getting hurt while protecting free speech. This brought the total of arrests during the convention to 818.
Based on “evidence” from paid infiltrators, eight “RNC Welcome Committee” organisers were charged with criminal conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism.
There were extensive reports of police brutality involving batons, pepper spray, tasering, concussion grenades, smoke bombs, CS gas and rubber bullets.
At a Peace Team debriefing, it was claimed that the Teams had saved lives during the Convention. Rev. Peter Dougherty, 74, of the Michigan Peace Team, one of those arrested, said they had experienced tear gas, pepper spray and percussion/concussion grenades and a general overwhelming police presence.
He said: “It’s truly a police state, but despite all the craziness of feeling like this is a war zone, we have been able to have some very positive impacts and we were mostly well-received by the folks in the streets…. May this experience deepen our conviction in the power of nonviolence.”