It’s going to be an interesting evening. The last protest of the RNC is starting at 4. You may recall — if you’re a regular News Cut reader — this is the one that organizers said would be the “more militant” protest, as opposed to the family-friendly one on Monday. “If people are wondering about Day 4, is it going to be safe, is it going to be OK to bring their families, we would say ‘yes.’ I think the more the better,” the organizers said five or six weeks ago. We’ll just see.
3:11 p.m. – The situation is, basically, shutting downtown St. Paul businesses. Caribou Coffee in Town Square brings us a pot of coffee because “it’s going to be a long night.” Besides, they don’t need it; they say they’ve been told to close down. MPR sends non-newsroom people home.
3:17 p.m. – The people who are in line for the Daily Show have disappeared.
In the last two days, the people aren’t let in until 5:30. Either the Daily Show is recording tonight’s show early, or they want people off the street. The answer to that — as with everything about The Daily Show — is a matter of national security.
3:44 p.m. A “Kinko’s journalist” (Has laminated credentials that aren’t real press credentials) arrives, and appears to have broken every rule in the book about covering protests/riots.
3:46 p.m. Ramsey County announces it’s closed the Juvenile Justice Center on West Seventh Street and the Public Health Clinic on Cedar in St. Paul because of the pending protest march.
4:26 p.m. – The left-hand-right-hand department — Says the Joint Information Center:
Law enforcement officials in charge of security and public safety operations associated with the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul are dismissing as untrue reports that they requested offices in downtown Saint Paul to close early.
4:54 p.m. Who keeps all those police bicycles in shape and what’s it like to be a bike cop? MPR’s Michael Wells has the answer:
4:58 p.m. Police have told organizers they have to be finished by 5 p.m. (MPR)
5:04 p.m. Most marchers are heading toward John Ireland Blvd., on Rice. A separate group is attempting to go down Cedar Ave. Some arrests are being made. (KARE 11).
5:05 p.m. St. Paul officers on horseback are blocking John Ireland Blvd. (WCCO)
5:11 p.m. Via Twitter @TheInDecider (Daily Show – Michael Kraskin and Dennis DiClaudio) reports march is now a sit-in.
5:21 p.m. – Live video (via cellcam) of the situation.
5:26 p.m. – MPR’s Sea Stachura has sent this image of the standoff:
MPR’s Steve Mullis says, “Cops on Capitol side of John Ireland Blvd., protesters on the Cathedral side. Chanting loudly. Police are not amused.”
5:28 p.m. – MPR’s Tom Crann is interviewing the owner of Mickey’s Diner. Flashback to Monday night:
“It didn’t affect us at all,” Melissa Matson said. “There were customers who came in right before and we didn’t realize they hadn’t been served so we were very apologetic.” She says regulars are starting to show up again.
5:32 p.m. Steve Mullis’ has sent this image:
5:39 p.m. – Nobody’s making a move.
6:01 p.m. – Joint Press Information Center just issued this release:
Law enforcement officials in charge of security and public safety operations associated with the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying an apparent assault victim and suspected rioters.
Officials would like to speak with the apparent victim of an assault that occurred on Monday in Saint Paul. Law enforcement officials are also interested in speaking with individuals seen attacking the victim.
Law enforcement is also asking for the public’s assistance in a separate case (see attached bulletin). Officials believe this individual is responsible for breaking windows at the 1st National Bank building on Monday, September 1 in Saint Paul. Anyone who can identify him is asked to contact police.
People with information about any of the individuals in the photos are asked to call the Saint Paul Police Department at 651-291-1111
6:09 p.m. – via Twitter @TheIndecider says people are leaving. Would they give up that easy. Looks to me like the police have fortified Cedar at I-94 bridge. The strategy seems clear: Keep ’em on the other side of I-94. So far it’s working, easily. The police only need to guard two bridges rather than try to corral protesters throughout an entire downtown as they had to do on Monday.
6:14 p.m. – Police have “retaken” the John Ireland bridge. A small handful of protesters have linked arms.
6:18 p.m. – A line of blue is up around the front of the Capitol. Both main bridges to downtown are clogged with police. The only way this thing gets seriously out of hand is if the few people on the south side of I-94 (who are watching) turn out to be the “anarchists.” That doesn’t seem likely.
6:23 p.m. – More police have been added to the Cedar St. bridge. Dumptrucks have been moved across the road on the south side of the bridge.
6:37 p.m. – Here’s the picture I shot a few minutes ago. Police have reinforced the bridge.
As I shot this, an officer said, “Sir, you have to move back across the street.” Yes, I had my press credentials and , no, I hadn’t crossed the police line. But — and this is the first chance I’ve had to use this as a verb — I decided not to “Amy Goodman” the situation.
Why don’t the protesters move to the next bridge at Minnesota?
Because these people are waiting…
And, besides, there’s no way for the protesters to get there. 12th Street is blocked and the parking garage and armory provide a barricade.
Snowplows have been mounted on city trucks and filled with sand. They’re being moved in to reinforce things on Cedar:
As more police move up from downtown…
How long can this last? The police didn’t take the bait, didn’t move in on the protesters, and clearly are trying to avoid a confrontation. John McCain speaks in an hour or so, then leaves, and when everyone is gone, and the 10 p.m. news is over, the police can squeeze whatever protesters are left.
6:52 p.m. – Here’s a map of how police succeeded in isolating the protesters from downtown, and the Excel Center.
For those following who are not in St. Paul, the yellow interstate is about 30 feet down from the surface streets where everyone is positioned.
7:20 p.m. Via David Brauer (via Twitter) – City Pages reporter among those pepper sprayed. Their report says they had both followed orders to lie on the ground. Then they were maced.
7:28 p.m. – A woman was just maced and taken away. MPR’s Steve Mullis says police are making small advances to get people to scatter and thin out the crowd, and then surrounding those who stay behind, and arresting them.
7:43 p.m. – Part 2 of the bike cops video. Kudos to Michael Wells, Bo Hakala and Anna Weggle
7:51 p.m. – Flickr photostream of this afternoon/evening’s events.
7:54 p.m. Via Twitter, The InDecider says a police car window was smashed.
7:58 p.m. – 12 arrests, according to the Pioneer Press. Additional images. Here.
8:02 p.m. MPR’s Steve Mullis (via Twitter), “Cops respected press credentials and let us break the line” to return to the downtown section of the city.
8:18 p.m. – Protesters are pretty much broken up. Some tried to get over the bridge at Marion but failed. Police shot flashbangs. Protesters are in small groups and are unlikely to reform — or be allowed to reform. My son — who works here — has just returned and says all of the people he saw get pepper-sprayed by police had just failed to obey an order.
8:29 p.m. – Total arrests will be over 100. We may yet hit the 800 prediction from Sheriff Bob Fletcher.
This thing is over.
From Jessica Vogt : “Anti-war protest. Police stop protesters at the John Ireland Blvd. bridge. The crowd gathers.”