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"All I could feel was Mama Bear - do whatever you want to do to me, but I need to get my son out safe. He was watching his dad get handcuffed. And he's saying, 'Mommy, mommy, why did they crash through the door?'" (source)

Last night and today, several raids conducted against the RNC Welcoming Committee at several locations (updated & current info including copies of search warrants). This story has been previously diaried (with more information) by: Raids in Minneapolis (arielle), Breaking: Raiding RNC Protesters' Homes (The Grace Kelly), Action needed: Starhawk's ground report from St. Paul (Kitsap River), Are we paying attention? (resa), Welcome to a Police State. Be ready to be raided (AHiddenSaint).

What prompted me to write this diary was a five-year-old who may have been arrested/handcuffed during one of the raids. One of the sad things researching this diary to find out if Gabe (photo) was really handcuffed was learning how many five-year-olds are actually handcuffed in... well, everywhere in the anglosphere! Was Gabe handcuffed? I don't know... but there's this...

"They handcuffed all of us," said Sonia Silbert, 28, from Washington. "They searched everyone." (Convergence Space Raided!)

Glenn Greenwald w/ comprehensive reporting (& videos) describes the scene: Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis

In the house that had just been raided, those inside described how a team of roughly 25 officers had barged into their homes with masks and black swat gear, holding large semi-automatic rifles, and ordered them to lie on the floor, where they were handcuffed and ordered not to move. The officers refused to state why they were there and, until the very end, refused to show whether they had a search warrant. They were forced to remain on the floor for 45 minutes while the officers took away the laptops, computers, individual journals, and political materials kept in the house. One of the individuals renting the house, an 18-year-old woman, was extremely shaken as she and others described how the officers were deliberately making intimidating statements such as "Do you have Terminator ready?" as they lay on the floor in handcuffs. The 10 or so individuals in the house all said that though they found the experience very jarring, they still intended to protest against the GOP Convention, and several said that being subjected to raids of that sort made them more emboldened than ever to do so.

Activist describes "night of terror" for DC pirate radio (Adam Eidinger saying if RNC Convention delayed it won't be because of Hurricane Gustav, but "a hurricane of protestors").

Raids called "pre-emptive strike":

Ramsey County authorities conducted raids across Minneapolis and St. Paul Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention. Five people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers, according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.

- - -

But the raids drew immediate condemnation from activists and St. Paul City Councilman Dave Thune, whose district includes the former theater at 627 Smith Avenue South, which was rented by activists as a gathering space. "This is not the way to start things off," Thune said Saturday morning. "This is sending the wrong message. Regardless of how you feel about these people...they had a right to be there."

The anarchists are coming: Media scare tactics unfounded, anti-RNC groups say

With the Twin Cities set to host massive protests, an influx of media and thousands of Republicans and supporters, local corporate media are looking to fuel fears that things could get out of control. One activist group being targeted — they say, unfairly — is anarchists. They state that their plans do not include violence and that both their message and tactics are willfully misunderstood.

- - -

Public perception of anarchism is that violence is part of the philosophy or that anarchist philosophy depends on a lack of authority that would force communities to descend into chaos. Those perceptions are at the heart of misconceptions of the movement.

"Anarchism is easily the most understood pol theory in America today, so much so that newspapers use the silly phrase ’self-described anarchists,’" Harold told KFAI.

Indeed they do. Virtually every media outlet describes the Welcoming Committee as "self-described." The Pioneer Press has done so three times, the Star Tribune four times, and I used the phrase at the Minnesota Independent (then Minnesota Monitor) last fall.

Harold said the misunderstanding leads many to equate anarchism with violence. "The media says direct action is synonymous with violence, that anarchism is the philosophy with the end goal of chaos and disorder."

Instead, it’s about sustainability, consensus building, decentralization and community aid. And each anarchist has their own ideas.

contact info

Originally posted to northanger on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 07:45 PM PDT.

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