2,000 Rally to 'Stop War On The Poor'

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Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune

2,000 Rally to 'Stop War On The Poor'

A third day of demonstrations outside the Republican National Convention drew smaller crowds. Police and marchers clashed again, but arrests were way down.

by
Randy Furst, Curt Brown, & Heron Marquez Estrada

Police fire tear gas at protesters near the Xcel Energy Center, the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) September 2, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Getty Images)

 St. Paul, Minn. - A vocal group of demonstrators took to the streets of St. Paul again
Tuesday evening, voicing their anger about economic justice issues on
Day 2 of the Republican National Convention.

The number of protesters and arrests were down from the 10,000 who
marched and the nearly 300 arrested Monday, but police and
demonstrators did clash briefly.

Video of the event available here and here.

Chanting "Stop the war on the poor," about 1,000 people in the "Poor
People's March" left Mears Park about 6 p.m. and marched through
downtown. Their numbers swelled to 2,000 after the march passed an
all-day activist event that had coincidentally just wound up on the
State Capitol lawn at 7 p.m. The march ended near the Xcel Energy
Center about 8 p.m.

A plan for civil disobedience fizzled with no arrests after
protesters decided not to scale 8-foot fences near the arena. They
poked a "citizens arrest warrant for crimes against humanity" for the
Republicans through the fence and left.

The march disbanded, but a half-hour later hundreds of protesters
and others, mainly young people, clogged an intersection at 7th and St.
Peter streets, causing police, over a loudspeaker, to order them to
disperse. They didn't and police fired several smoke bombs and tear-gas
canisters into the crowd.

At least 10 people were arrested during the day, including four at a
tense showdown with police officers on horseback just before the march
started at the edge of the poor people's rally. The officers
pepper-sprayed some demonstrators blocking the intersection after one
man pulled on a police horse's reins.

Cheri Honkala, a leader of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights
Campaign
, which sponsored the demonstration, appealed to the rally
participants to be nonviolent, pointing out that there were children in
the crowd. She told anarchists intermingled in the crowd that she would
hold them responsible if they interfered in the peaceful march.

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