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RNC Protesters Say They Reject Violence But Might Turn To Civil Disobedience

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL - A local antiwar organization that is planning a march on the final day of the Republican National Convention said Wednesday that its demonstration will be "more militant" than protest marches earlier in the week.While eschewing violence, members of the Anti-War Committee told reporters at a news conference outside the Xcel Energy Center that its activity on Sept. 4 will involve "a variety of tactics" that could include civil disobedience with sit-ins and "die-ins."

The activists added that there could be civil disobedience every day of the Sept. 1-4 convention, which will be held at the Xcel in St. Paul.

An antiwar march is already planned for Sept. 1, which organizers say could attract tens of thousands, and a poor people's march is scheduled for Sept. 2, which could draw thousands more. Organizers of the Sept. 4 march predict a turnout of 2,000.

Leaders of the Anti-War Committee are key organizers of the Sept. 1 protest, which is sponsored by the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, and the committee is also a supporter of the Sept. 2 march, sponsored by the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign.

Speaking for the Anti-War Committee, Katrina Plotz and Misty Rowan said Wednesday that the St. Paul police issued their organization a permit, allowing them to march on the street earlier in the day but ending by 5 p.m. However, they said they planned to march around 5 p.m., using sidewalks if necessary, so they will be near the Xcel closer to the time when U.S. Sen. John McCain gives his speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination. The march will protest McCain's support of the Iraq war, they said.

Tom Walsh, a spokesman for St. Paul police, said he had no comment.

© 2008 Star Tribune

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