On Wednesday evening, September 24, St. Paul city council member Dave Thune hopes to bring together five groups of people to talk about what happened at the RNC. The forum will include discussion of police action, Thune says, but will go beyond that to discuss the impact of the RNC on business, residents, and observers, as well as demonstrators, peacekeepers and medics.
Wednesday’s event will not be an open forum. Thune has invited representatives from “regular citizens,” peace marchers and organizers, journalists, business, and the police. Each invited speaker will have three to five minutes to speak his or her piece. That will take about three hours, Thune says.
Thune is concerned about police action, which he observed from multiple vantage points throughout the week. Before the Republican National Convention (RNC), Thune says, he talked to St. Paul assistant police chief Matt Bostrom. There would be a pile of peaceful protesters. Some would choose civil disobedience — these would be given a choice of leaving or getting arrested. Anyone who broke windows would get arrested immediately.
“Somewhere along the line,” says Thune, “that plan was abandoned.”
Thune is also concerned about lack of planning that left St. Paul businesses walled off from convention-goers, and about the impact of the convention on the city’s residents and reputation.
Everyone is welcome to the public forum, Thune says. The forum will be held in the city council chambers, but overflow spaces have been set up and the event will also be televised on cable access Channel 18.
Others who want to have input into the post-convention analysis are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments have already run hot and heavy, including death threats to Thune himself. Some of the comments on the E-Democracy Forum express the high passions still felt over the RNC.