Early reports are flooding in of what sound – at first blush – as police state tactics designed to disrupt and intimidate anyone who authorities think might be protesting — peacefully — at the Republican National Convention.
Some of these accounts are from reputable sources, including both lawyers who were called in to help clients only to be arrrested an handcuffed, and from a group called Founders of I-Witness, which specializes in filming police behavior and that was at the 2004 GOP Convention and took film that cost New York Police seven figures in settlements. Their account is chilling: Armed police surrounded their house and held them hostage for hours while waiting for a warrant to enter.
The house where I-Witness Video is staying in St. Paul has been surrounded by police. We have locked all the doors. We have been told that if we leave we will be detained. One of our people who was caught outside is being detained in handcuffs in front of the house. The police say that they are waiting to get a search warrant. More than a dozen police are wielding firearms, including one St. Paul officer with a long gun, which someone told me is an M-16.
The first thing you do is silence the witnesses. Police are also detaining reporters.
“Food Not Bombs” — so far as I know a peaceful group — was also raided. Jane Hampsher of firedoglake has an account and links to a video..
I believe some people got quite upset when similar tactics were used recently in China to prevent demonstrations at the Olympics.