RNC: Photos from Monday's Protest

1 / 17
2 / 17
3 / 17
4 / 17
5 / 17
6 / 17
7 / 17
8 / 17
9 / 17
10 / 17
11 / 17
12 / 17
13 / 17
14 / 17
15 / 17
16 / 17
17 / 17

I arrived at the Minnesota State Capitol on Monday shortly before 1 p.m., when the march on the Xcel Center was scheduled to begin. Things were already in full swing, with protesters assembling on the capitol lawn and making last-minute adjustments to their signs, costumes, and props.

<p>

</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>The march began roughly on time, with a slow but determined mass moving down the capitol’s hill toward downtown Saint Paul. I began walking next to an anti-capitalist <a title=”black bloc” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_bloc” target=”_blank”>black bloc</a>. An exuberant young man with a megaphone led protesters in chants of “No war but the class war!” and “A … Anti … Anti-Capitalista!”–after which last chant I heard a Bloc member behind me confide to his friend, “I don’t even know what that means.”</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>I really, really hoped he was kidding. After Megaphone Guy announced that protestors had <a href=”http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/09/01/rnc_day1/” target=”_blank”>smashed the windows of a bus full of delegates</a> and the people around me cheered, claustrophobia began to set in and I decided to peel away from this group and observe other portions of the march.<br />
</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>The Revolution will be exhaustively photographed …</p>
<p>

</p>
<p> … and merchandized.<br />
<br />

<br />
</p>
<p>Police in riot gear appeared at several intersections to control the flow of the march. I overheard one policewoman in the front line say to a protestor, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”<br />
</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>
<br />
As the march neared the Xcel Center, it was herded through a metal fence.<br />
</p>
<p>

<br />
<br />
After emerging from the fencing, the march appeared to be doubling back on itself. From the median in front of Mickey’s Dining Car, I was able to observe it headed both ways.</p>
<p>

<br />
</p>
<p>
<a href=”http://www.codepink4peace.org/” target=”_blank”>Code Pink</a> and the <a href=”http://www.backbonecampaign.org/” target=”_blank”>Backbone Campaign</a> along with some other very theatrical groups, lending the march a parade-like aspect.</p>
<p>


<br />

<br />
</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>What I saw next had a way of putting everything in perspective. On the other side of the median, marching past Mickey’s, I was suddenly confronted by a huge delegation from <a href=”http://ivaw.org/” target=”_blank”>Iraq Veterans Against The War</a>, joined by older veterans of other wars in a powerful and dignified procession.</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>

<br />
</p>
<p>

</p>
<p>
<br />
Not to diminish the efforts of the many protest groups which turned out in powerful numbers, but this segment of the march seemed the most–well, <span style=”FONT-STYLE: italic”>real</span>. And certainly the most moving.<br />
<br />
I was not witness to the clashes between police and protesters that occurred; from where I was standing, things proceeded in an orderly fashion. There was, however, <a href=”https://www.utne.com/politics/rnc-police-tear-gas-and-arrest-protesters.aspx”>another Utne writer caught up in the commotion</a> and tear gas, and her perspective is unfortunately very different from mine.</p>
<p>
<span style=”FONT-STYLE: italic”>Images courtesy of the <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakemohan/” target=”_blank”>author</a>.</span>
<br type=”_moz”>
</p>
<p>
<em>For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Republican National Convention, click <a href=”/blogs/blog.aspx?blogid=30&tag=republican%20national%20convention” target=”_blank”>here</a>
</em>
<em>.</em>
</p>

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.