The St. Paul City Council is now doing some investigation, and we want to get this national petition to them. Deadline is Thursday October
New Left Notes
To: Local Elected Officials and Law Enforcement in Denver, St. Paul and Minneapolis:
CC: Homeland Security
Thousands of people came to your cities during the recent national political conventions to protest the U.S. occupation of the Middle East, widespread violations of international law by the Bush administration, and abuses of the rights of people living in this country.
They were met in each instance with $50 million spent on military tactics and material, and:
--involvement of US "fusion centers" combining domestic and military agencies for the purposes of surveillance of the protesters;
--riot squads on bicycles, motorcycles, horses, and military troop transports;
--use of agent infiltrators into political groups, and provocateurs on the streets;
--revocation and denial of permits to assemble and mass arrests of protesters & bystanders alike, with pepper & tear gas, concussion grenades, and batons;
--raids featuring drawn weapons at homes and offices and on private cars, on the basis not of crimes committed, but of speech.
Nearly 1000 people were arrested, including 40 members of the press, and including juveniles. Many of them were detained for days. Some were denied medication, medical care, and timely legal representation. Some were illegally interrogated as to their political beliefs and associations. Some were physically abused, with reported use of tasers, hoods, batons, and denial of food and bathroom facilities.
The charges range from vague misdemeanors to "conspiracy to commit riot in the 2nd degree in furtherance of terrorism" in the case of the RNC 8. These are demonstrably political charges devoid of actual crimes committed.
It may be that with the huge budget, the designation of the conventions as "national security events" and the ominous and baseless warnings from federal authorities that the political protests would be violent, such abuses against protesters were predicable. But they are NOT acceptable. We demand:
1) Charges against people involved in political protest at the conventions be dropped immediately. In particular, the indictment of the RNC8 must be withdrawn.
2) A thorough investigation of methods employed by law enforcement, and directed by Homeland Security, including the methods and justification for surveillance of political activists; the insertion of agents into political organizations; the crowd control methods and mass arrests; the conditions of detention of those arrested; and any ongoing surveillance and interference with the rights of those accused, arrested, or involved in the protests are contrary to the expectation of the rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Such investigations must include public hearings, and a real search for the truth in what happened.
3) A public report, dissociating your city from those methods found to suppress speech and assembly, and guarantee to the people that they will not be used again.
4) Rejection of the use of military involvement in surveillance, activation of national guard units or active duty military in future political protests.