The news is finally breaking about the violence outside the RNC last night, which went largely unnoticed by the attendees of the convention, and media until this morning. I want to thank all of the bloggers, twitters, and forum junkies out there for helping to get the word out. You RAWK.
Here are some media updates:
From ABC news:
Police in riot gear swarmed the area outside the convention center, deploying tear gas and distraction devices known as "flash bangs" in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
Approximately three-hundred protesters were held on the bridge for nearly an hour over Interstate 94 in St. Paul. After hours of people protesting, police instructed demonstrators to file onto the bridge and then announced everyone would be arrested, refusing to allow anyone off the overpass. Law enforcement barricading the bridge fired pepper spray, instructing protesters to put their hands behind their heads.
ABC News' Jennifer Duck was trapped with the marchers on the bridge and observed many young children scared and crying. She spoke to several marchers who said they wanted to go home, but the police refused to allow any movement. Members of the media, and many trying to follow police direction were being pepper sprayed in the face.
Twin City Indy Media:
Fortunately for decent folk, it appears they went way too far: even Tom Lyden on Fox9 said that it was like a police state, and after playing clips of massive, unwarranted pepper spraying, he concluded his segment by saying that they'd be looking into a blue ribbon panel to see what the hell happened. When you've lost Fox News on the final night of the RNC.... well, some things just can't be spun.
Legal observers on-scene were incensed that they were directed to move to safety in one direction, then they themselves got arrested. The police couldn't control their horses, which shit all over the place.
Kare11's cameraman got arrested (has been released), WCCO's cameraman Tom Aviles got arrested, Pioneer Press' Ben Garvin got detained for two hours and shot one hell of a video. In particular, the WCCO footage is possibly the strongest we've yet seen from a corporate source!
Rueters didn't bother mentioning the violence against protesters.
Matthew Hurt, a legal observer with the Minnesota Lawyers Guild, was among them. He yelled to reporters: "We were told to disperse west. This is west. We are being arrested."
Several protesters said police overreacted.
In one incident, eight cops in riot gear gathered outside Mayor Chris Coleman's office as lawyers for demonstrators asked to meet with officials. Mayoral spokesman Bob Hume escorted lawyers and activists from the building.
Chris Hermes of the National Lawyers Guild said he was shocked that riot police showed up.
On the Capitol grounds, Wylie Stecklow, a New York City attorney, said he witnessed police arresting a couple nearby without cause. About 70 police officers in riot gear arrived on the scene with another 16 on horses.
"This is just poor decision-making by the police," Stecklow said. "The rally was incredibly peaceful."
Discussion forum Discussing the differences in stories between the "official police story" and what was reported by attendees.
I'll my commentary up about this later today or tonight.
The power of technology:
From Tech President:
As a point person for on-the-ground information, notq served as a node through which a great deal of tear gas notices, police instructions, and tactical information flowed. But here’s the rather remarkable thing: he was doing it all from Tempe, Arizona, some 1,700 miles away from the Twin Cities. notq, a.k.a. Nathan Oyler, is a politically active Linux administrator opposed to the Iraq War and the Bush Administration. He was a central point through which critical information passed via Twitter -- and he wasn't even there.
"I was dispatch," he says. [...]PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (@newshour) was sending people towards @notq and the @theuptake's reports on Twitter, and even, it seems directing their resources based on the tweets pouring in: "@notq We're sending someone now... Marion & St. Anthony?" When I ask who else he knew to be following his reports, he says that he knows to be medics, journalists, and some protestors, but beyond that, he says, he's not altogether sure who made up his wider audience.
Fantastic job internet junkies and twitter hooligans!!!!