Peace and protest

For all the sturm und drang about the protests during the Republican National Convention, you have to take at least some comfort from scenes like this in downtown St. Paul this afternoon.

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It was a nice, orderly war protest at W. 7th Street and Kellogg Boulevard, right past the Xcel Energy Center. That’s where the Republicans will be gathered starting Sept. 1.

Much like the pro-immigration march this spring, the local constabulary seemed to be amiably handling matters and the marchers got to make their point.

Maybe even too amiably.

The ratio of police to protestors seemed even generous by the look of the march from Kellogg Boulevard. Clearly, it was a fine day to be out getting some practice for keeping the peace, even when it looked pretty well kept already.

It makes you wonder if the marchers might take requests.

(Collins notes: I know they’re real, remarkably trained and all that, but cops on bikes don’t scare me the way the ones in police cars do. Why is that?)

  • http://www.mplsstpl.com/ Todd

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ba4_1206023132

    That’s why. Can’t do that with a bike.

  • MCaputo

    I think, perhaps, it’s the shorts. Cops in shorts… whoooo.

  • c

    “We represent the Lollipop Kids, the Lollipop Kids, the Lollipop Kids” -the police rangers remind me of the little people on the Wizard of Oz.

    damn hippies-promoting….peace…good thing the police got em surrounded!

  • Tyler Suter

    OK, I’ve seen enough! Yeah, yeah, the cops look silly and the street looks like it was just swept an hour before the picture was taken. That’s all well and funny. What isn’t funny is how lame our protests have become! What ever happened to the spirit that Richie Havens’ song entitled “Freedom” so clearly embodied – which opened Woodstock as I’m sure most of you know – or the bluntness of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” that my dad brags about constantly? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate any sort of public outcry to end the war, but we need something that will capture the ears of EVERYONE. Take this small protest for instance; almost all of the signs either seem mass produced or are obviously mass produced (we’ve all seen the peace sign in blue font and look closely to see identical “hands off Iraq” signs. You also have your garden variety ‘long-haired freaky people’/hippies, some spur of the moment hop on the wagon people who just look confused and of course a sprinkling of classic middle-aged grassroot liberals. I can hear the chant now: “Bring them home.” That was pretty damn cool when the gentleman stood up at the last congressional briefing with General Potraeous (sp?), but it is not quite as inspiring when done on a St. Paul street corner. Did Holiday Inn approve this knowing the sign would get publicity? Why are we waiting for approval? Our government is obviously not looking for ours! We need to be marching in front of the capital.

    So here is my call to public disobedience (nothing violent of course) and passionate/creative outcry). Maybe next time you get pulled over for speeding and the officer asks you why you were speeding, tell him, “because there’s a war going on.” (I know none of us do that anymore with gas prices and Bob Collins preaching the 55 mph or lower; you sure suckered me in and now I get stared down by Senior Citizens as they pass). Same answer works for: Why such a long face?” But definitely NO MORE 4-8 WORD CHANTS REPEATED OVER, & OVER, & OVER AGAIN. We can do better. I suck at the guitar – so far – but I went out and bought one just to learn Dylan protest songs that I can play out on the corner of Lake & Hennepin, or lake and lyndale, or cedar and riverside, or 1st avenue and Hennipen, or Minnehaha Falls…etc. People giving strange looks, people telling you to shut-up, people singing along, and people looking confused are all listening. At least write some sonets and post them below; I’ll sing them out of key for God’s sake. Let’s get this movement into 5th gear. We need to get people angry. I know I’m not the only one who is pissed off.

  • GregS

    OK, I’ve seen enough! Yeah, yeah, the cops look silly and the street looks like it was just swept an hour before the picture was taken. That’s all well and funny. What isn’t funny is how lame our protests have become! What ever happened to the spirit that Richie Havens’ song entitled “Freedom” so clearly embodied – which opened Woodstock as I’m sure most of you know – or the bluntness of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”

    Odd how no one noticed that there were no “peace” protestors marching against their government in North Vietnam or Saddam’s Iraq.

    What is also fascinating about the “anti-war/peace” movement is that it is populated by people who supported government in North Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, and Serbia who murdered and jailed protestors.

    Of course then, we all know the “anti-war/peace” was really about the violent imposition of Russian imperialism until the colapse of the USSR, then it was about, and only about the violent imposition of Socialism.

  • David Wilford

    (I know none of us do that anymore with gas prices and Bob Collins preaching the 55 mph or lower; you sure suckered me in and now I get stared down by Senior Citizens as they pass)

    Being tailgated by honking geezers is a new experience for me too.

  • c

    Well Tyler-get out your tamborine and start shakin’ it-

    I am sure you will draw a crowd. I admire your ambition grasshopper.

  • Tyler Suter

    Thank you c! I need all the reassurance I can get.

  • Ally S

    “What is also fascinating about the “anti-war/peace” movement is that it is populated by people who supported government in North Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, and Serbia who murdered and jailed protestors.”

    i would be careful about making sweeping generalizations concerning what any, much less THE “movement” is about. I am strongly anti-war and I am as strongly opposed to state socialism as I am to our capitalist police state…excuse me, i mean “democracy.”