RNC protesters being arrested in downtown St. Paul at 5:20 p.m.


After an afternoon of sirens and alarms, protesters are being arrested in downtown St. Paul. (You can see it on video shot by The Uptake http://qik.com/theuptake which has video crews all over the city.)

A rally in St. Paul that began peacefully this morning to protest government policies regarding the war and economy has turned a corner and now includes vandalism against public property. A National Guard unit http://www.minnesotanationalguard.org/press_room/e-zine/articles/index.php?item=1583 that had been prepared to assist with the RNC convention is present.

Live coverage of mass arrests at 5:20 p.m. from The Uptake at http://qik.com/theuptake

Police and protesters clashed in downtown St. Paul following a large peaceful rally. There was vandalism by a small spinter group of protesters during the march which started shortly after 1 p.m. A protester tore off a street sign and slung it into a Macy’s store, breaking two windows. Then another protester or protesters jumped on a police car and broke out the windows. There have been about a dozen arrests.

The National Guard and police are wearing riot gear with gas masks. There has been a small, but loud, explosion from what is believed to be a gas canister.

Other protesters were dancing in the streets when they were sprayed with tear gas and pepper spray.
Many marchers have been prevented from crossing a bridge in St. Paul that would take them to a Labor Day gathering organized by Minnesota’s unions.

According to a family member whose son was a National Guard member who served in Iraq, the National Guard unit put on stand-by for the RNC has been home for one year, and took part in skirmishes in Falujah.

The extent of vandalism was unknown.

The vast majority of protesters, who come from a wide range of demographics and focus on divergent issues, have been peaceful.