By MORDECAI SPECKTOR
Local policeÂ agencies staged at least five raids on Friday evening and Saturday against political activists, arresting people and confiscating property ahead of the opening ofÂ the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. At least one other activist was arrested on the street in south Minneapolis.
Here’s an account from The Uptake about the morning raid at 3240 17th Ave. So. in Minneapolis, which resulted in three arrests on probable cause for conspiracy to commit riot.
The raids seemed to be designed to keep activists in jail over the Labor Day holiday.
Details of the raids were included in a story on the Web site of the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) today.
TheÂ Saturday morning raid of a house at 3500 Harriet Ave. So. in Minneapolis involved Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies, Minneapolis police officers, and FBI and Homeland Security agents. About 20 residents of the house were handcuffed, photographed and then later released without charges.
(Disclosure: There was the name of one person on the search warrantÂ for the Harriet Avenue house; the cops were looking for my son, Max, 19, who is active in the local anarchist movement. Max is a Talmud Torah of St. Paul Midrasha graduate and a confirmand of the Temple of Aaron Synagogue. If he had been at home on Saturday morning, he likely would be locked up now in the Ramsey County jail.)
On Saturday, around 300 activists gathered in Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis for an update on the police raids in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
There is a lot of press now — both in mainstream sources and Web alternatives — about the unprecedented police crackdown in the Twin Cities.
Glenn Greenwald’s account on Salon.com includes commentary and videos with people who experienced the SWAT actions up close.
Local TV coverage was very confusing and seemed to give a great deal of credence to Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher’s line that “anarchist criminals” were stockpiling weapons — especially urine — to create mayhem around the RNC in St. Paul. FletcherÂ described members of the RNC Welcoming Committee, the anarchist faction, as the central conspirators in a plot to commit “serious criminal acts” around the Xcel Energy Center Here’s the KTSP-TV take — with urine — on the events Friday and Saturday.
G.R. Anderson Jr. provides a thorough look at the raids in his article on MinnPost.com. It includes an explanation for the buckets of urine confiscatedÂ and displayed to press by Fletcher.
The aggressive police actions and arrestsÂ — which lawyers on the scene in Minneapolis characterize as preventive detention — seem like calculated intimidation. The heightened tensions from the raids set the stage for a confrontation between police and protesters, whenÂ a mass protest march moves from the Minnesota Capitol to the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul, site of the Republican National Convention,Â on Monday afternoon.