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Anti-Capitalist Bloc Actions and Shepard Road Mass Arrests, 9/1/08: photos
It was the Anti-Capitalist Bloc that brought up the rear of the permitted anti-RNC march from the Capital Building and back to the Capital Building. After a half-hour break near the Capital, the block headed towards the heavily fortified permiter surrounding the Xcel Center, site of the 2008 RNC in St. Paul.
About 3:30pm CST, a tense stand-off with police occured at a perimeter gate at Kellogg and Mulberry where police donned gas masks in anticipation of attacking the bloc, but backed off when the bloc moved on to cross a pedestrian bridge over I-35E and headed towards the Mississippi River on the other side of the Xcel center. Once on Shepard Road, the block moved northeast on sidewalks by the river. As the bloc approached Jackson Street, police, and what appeared to be Minnesota National Guard, began to attack the bloc with tear gas, bean bags, concussion grenades, and colored smoke bombs/clothes markers. Many people were injured as a result of the attack. As the bloc retreated southwest, back down Shepard Street, away from the advancing and attacking cops, another line of cops moved in slowly from the south to kettle the group and prevent any exit. From there, police slowly reinforced the ring around the bloc. Seemingly randomly, or perhaps attempting to release people who appeared to be bystanders to the events unfolding on the waterfront, police released perhaps two thirds of the detainees in batches of 20-30 people and then proceeded to arrest maybe 100 others.
The photos here include the early parts of the Anti-Capitalist Bloc actions, about 2:30pm, as the permitted march was winding down in downtown St. Paul, and photos from about 5:30-6:30pm of the mass arrests after the police attack. Video from the entire action, including the police attack, will be forthcoming...
Just a few minutes prior, cops were directing bloc to turn left at perimeter gate.
The Bloc moves on and avoids confrontation here.
After the mass arrests on the waterfront, the boat was boarded by the Coast Guard for unknown reasons.
There was a lull before the police kettled the bloc. The attacking cops to the north eventually stopped in a line across Shepard and the bloc moved on only a few hundred yards away from them to drink water, rest, and treat wounds. Some people had serious problems with contact lenses and tear gas exposure, others needed to just rinse the painful gas from their eyes and faces, some were tending to wounds caused by the beanbag projectiles, and a small number were shaky from the trauma of the very hostile attack by riot police. By the time the group was ready to move on, police began to lock down Shepard Road a few hundred yards to the southwest at a waterfront park.
Some of the decisions on who was to be arrested and who was to be released seemed arbitrary and police often came off as confused and contradicted eachother on what they were doing. For instance, some of the first people to be snatched for arrest, after the arrest announcement was made nearly an hour into detainment, seemed to be bystanders to events. But then later, apparent bystanders were released. In large part overall, it seemed that police were arresting folks by some sort of dress code, i.e. black clothes equal bad, colorful clothes equal good people.