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(en) US, St Paul, Minnesota: Media, The anarchists more organised than the GOP ...

Date Tue, 02 Sep 2008 13:53:52 +0300

Halfway down Silper Street, between the advancing lines of riot police, in the
full gasmask and riot outfit -- ah pigs, now I get it -- the trailing ranks of
anarchist protestors, and the stray wisps of gas, I paused outside a cafe with
MSNBC playing on a TV set, and the subtitles switched on. Ah, sweet luxury of
press credentials! Like the gift of the fermata, I could slip back and forth
between the lines unmolested, quelle luxe! ---- It was noon, and the major
protest rally, ten thousand strong, was just starting to move from the park
spread beneath the gold-tipped Capitol dome. But the black bloc, the armed vegan
bloc, and the general mayhem bloc had broken off early, and were playing cat and
mouse with the cops, trying to scatter and re-form close to the Excel centre for
a front-on assault.

They never really got there -- the Minnesota burglary rate will spike this week
given the sheer number of out of town cops in situ -- and the only really fun
stuff was a couple of police cars set on fire, and a half dozen windows of
Macy's broken, but they gebinerally outperformed the lumbering midwestern-beefy
cops, who failed repeatedly to learn that if you face an entire riotsquad column
in one direction, the protestors will -- anyone anyone Bueller Bueller -- yes,
go in the other. At Harriet Island on the St Paul riverbank, Billy Bragg was
opening a "reclaim Labor Day" openair concert, and a rocked up version of Woody
Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land blasted through the lower blocks of the city.
And, oh, according to the TV, Hurricane Gustav was a bust.

With nothing officially announced for tomorrow, the Convention planners, are
presumably, even as I write, working out whether to get back as much of the
extravaganza as they can, or continue with the appeal for mittens (not Romney,
woollen gloves). They will have their work cut out, as significant numbers
haven't bothered to show up. This evening's party for the American Conservative
Union -- the ol granddaddy of conservative ginger groups -- looked, this
evening, like a trainspotters' mixer, until bizzarely a large Asian delegation
turned up to swell the numbers. It appears to be like that all over the joint.

The anarchists meanwhile have reformed their convergence centre twice after
police raids, and are promising a rematch tomorrow, their floating
re-arrangement of meetings, press conferences and decision-making managed
through a bewildering network of legal, medical and affinity groups. The irony
is that amidst the whiff of tear gas, and the charging of police phalanxes, the
anarchists seem better organised, more onto it than the Republicans.
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