The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Taruna Godric, 416-916-5202Email:

The Right To Assembly

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing dozens of protestors arrested at the RNC

ST. PAUL, Minn.

Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU, makes is clear that when the
RNC was first awarded, the ACLU knew there was 'going to be, as the
joke goes around, the ACLU full-employment convention'. The ACLU
started pressing the city of Saint Paul on issues like protest routes,
and in turn the council passed a number of resolutions. These
resolutions had the effect of turning the city over to the federal
government. There are two major parties that are federalized; the
Democratic and the Republican party conventions. 'They allotted $15
million for security purposes fairly broadly defined'. There are also
videos everywhere for the police to keep on every single move.

The ACLU have 'consistently had a strong legal presence in the
jail'. There are many people being held in jail since State law
requires them to be arraigned within 36 hours. Most of the ones being
charged have been involved in the raids. They are being charged 'with
the Minnesota version of the Patriot Act, which is a penalty
enhancement. It doubles the penalty.' Samuelson points out that many
of these people jailed are journalists. There are a number of them who
do not have proper representation since their news-gathering
organizations have weak or no legal departments. As a result of this
problem, ACLU has stepped in to help.

What is also troubling is that there are journalists being jailed
for no legal reason. "They're sitting there for a day and a half, and
then the prosecutors are looking at it and saying, "Oh, there's no
reason. We'll let you go." Yes, they are eventually released however
police have already looked at their cameras, took their picture and
have their information. 'The Patriot Acts - that's what this is
about'. Samuelson says our Republican president passed this act while
the ACLU had been fighting hard to stop it from appearing. 'We've
lobbied to try and get the new members of Congress to change it, and,
you know, so far we've been unsuccessful, and we're just going to keep

Watch the full story on The Real News Network: The Right To Assembly

During the Republican Convention The Real News journalists got
arrested while recording the protest. You can watch the full story on
The Real News Network TRNN Journalists Charged With Unlawful Assembly

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