Tales from the Trail

Pepper spray again perfumes St. Paul streets

September 3, 2008

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.protest.jpg

The 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

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

(Additional reporting by Mallika Rao, Jackie Frank and Adam Pasick)

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Comments
10 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

“The invigorating scent of pepper spray perfumed downtown St. Paul…”

Perfume? Scent? Give me a break– pepper spray is horrible.

The police are arresting journalists in St. Paul. They are trying to stop reporting stories from the streets of St. Paul.

How about doing your job and accurately report the news.

Thank you!

Posted by Robert Kolbe | Report as abusive
 

Were the “bands of black-clad anarchists” known to the parade organizers (anyone? anyone? Bueller?) — or were they, as in the Seattle WTO protests, merely police agents provocateurs sent in to create trouble and justify a violent response?

Posted by Pyre | Report as abusive
 

ALL “VIOLENT” PROTESTERS SHOULD BE JAILED AND HAVE THEIR DAY IN COURT!

PALIN IS A PLEASANT SURPRISE!

BIDEN IS OLD NEWS. THESE DEMS NEED TO LEAVE THE CHILDREN OUT OF IT. MANY PEOPLE HAVE COMPLEX FAMILIES — BUT FAMILY MEMBERS ARE NOT RUNNING FOR OFFICE.

IF YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON FAMILIES, THE HEADLINES SHOULD READ:

“PALIN’S SON IS ON HIS WAY TO IRAQ TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY”

OR

“McCAIN HAS TWO SONS SERVING IN OUR MILITARY”

WE REALLY NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON WHO CAN BEST LEAD OUR COUNTRY.

WE NEED TO REPLACE DO-NOTHING DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS.

McCAIN IS RUNNING FOR “PRESIDENT” — HE BRINGS LOTS OF EXPERIENCE. HE HAS PROVEN HE LOVES OUR COUNTRY ENOUGH TO DIE FOR US.

PALIN ALSO BRINGS EXPERIENCE. SHE HAS ACTUALLY “GOVERNED” AS MAYOR OF HER HOMETOWN AND AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA. SHE IS RUNNING FOR “VICE PRESIDENT”. SHE’S A REFRESHING BREATH OF CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.

OBAMA IS RUNNING FOR “PRESIDENT” — HE BRINGS “NO” EXPERIENCE. HE WORKED LESS THAN 150 DAYS IN THE SENATE AND SPENT THE REST OF THE TIME RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. IF HE CAN’T DO HIS SENATE JOB — HE SURELY CAN’T LEAD OUR NATION.

JOE BIDEN HAS BEEN IN THE SENATE FOR 35 YEARS. WHAT HAS HE DONE? HE WILL BRING MORE OF THE SAME! Biden said: “I think OBAMA can be ready one day, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”

I’m voting for the Honorable John McCain in November.

Posted by CAROLINA GIRL | Report as abusive
 

There were demonstrations at the Democratic convention, but none led to such brazen police brutality of innocent Americans trying to express their frustration as we see at the ongoing GOP convention. America is reputed for being a champion of freedom including freedom of expression and association. The police should please respect the rights of individuals and group and stop brutalizing innocent people.

Posted by Emmanuel | Report as abusive
 

to carolina girl
A. what did your comment/rant have to do with this article?
B. if you vote for the “Honorable John McCain” then his sons, Palin’s son and many more sons and daughters will fight and bleed on foreign soil for a war hawk of a president.
C. “The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training” so isn’t McCain a senator? Before that he served his country…as a general? No…A squad leader? No…Did he lead men at all? No he was a pilot. Now I am not saying he didn’t serve his country and fight hard for it but he did not get “training” for leading people or leading a country.
D. Bashing Biden hurts your own comment because how long has McCain been a senator? What has he done? other than voting for something (tax cuts) and when they go south he changes his mind.

Don’t trust the police don’t trust the government don’t trust any politic don’t trust anything. Dig and search out the information.

I don’t trust that Obama will be a great president but if he at least changes the direction the country is heading to we will be better off.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive
 

Emmanuel: Protesters at the DNC weren’t lighting fires, breaking windows, smashing cars, slashing tires, and pounding delegate tour-buses with objects. Police should respect the rights of people to break the law, destroy property and be downright dangerous?

Are you kidding? The police were ‘brutalizing’ innocent people but merely trying to protect the rights of other people…to not get mobbed and beaten by the thugs marching down the street.

Maybe your idea of a ‘peaceful’ protest is to imitate Sherman’s March, but even in this country free speech has its limits. Expressing one’s ideas is not the same as scaling a fence barricade. Associating with others is not the same as smashing up police cars.

You have been listening too much to Rage Against the Machine. Please calm down and don’t ever come near me. I will use the right to defend myself.

Posted by tom | Report as abusive
 

Hooray for peaceful protesters from all sides.
This is still America no matter if the wackjobs like it or not.

 

“THESE DEMS NEED TO LEAVE THE CHILDREN OUT OF IT. MANY PEOPLE HAVE COMPLEX FAMILIES — BUT FAMILY MEMBERS ARE NOT RUNNING FOR OFFICE.”

Oh, is that so? Then I guess all you Rethug wingnut dittohead extremists are going to come crawling around moaning apologies for Rush Limbaugh referring to Chelsea Clinton as the “White House dog”, right? And, naturally, the same goes for when McCain “joked” with reporters that “the reason Chelsea Clinton is so ugly is that Janet Reno is her father”, RIGHT?

Sorry, but we’re calling B.S. on your Rethug extremist dittohead wingnut hypocrisy–AGAIN. After 20+ years of Rush Limbaugh&Co. hate speech, it’s a little late for any whining about “civility” in politics. You reap what you sow.

Posted by Real Patriot | Report as abusive
 

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

Um, hasn’t it been the local and federal police who’s been intimidating and detaining journalists since Saturday? And don’t you guys are Reuters have spell-check, or is that the British standard spelling of “throughout?”

Posted by Grammar Police | Report as abusive
 

If protesters cannot protest peacefully and become violent, they deserve to be pepper sprayed and maybe even tasered!

 

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