Tuesday, September 02, 2008

...and the law won.

Further to my earlier post on the widespread police raids in Minneapolis....

Glenn Greenwald reports:

Beginning last night, St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be, even more so than Manhattan in the week of 9/11 -- with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured.

It is clear that a relatively small group of protesters -- some of them possibly a bit dangerous, some of them possibly a bit silly -- have caused some mayhem on the fringes of a medium-sized and largely peaceful demonstration.

On the other hand, there are many suggestions that the police are overreacting (and were...over...what, 'over-preempting'?) to what is happening on the ground there.

Greenwald has a lot of links to images and stories and videos.

We saw some of this in Denver, and there is a remarkable video of ABC correspondent ASA Eslocker being shoved into the street, placed in what looks like a chokehold and arrested by Denver police. It's worth getting through the advert to watch, since it appears clear that Eslocker did nothing to provoke the kind of treatment he received.

The equivalent from Minneapolis so far seems to be the arrest of Democracy Now broadcaster Amy Goodman for...well, so far as I can tell, for requesting to speak to a police supervisor after finding out that two of her crew had been arrested and roughed up while covering the protests.

Goodman was shortly after released and described what happened to her and other members of her crew (all, so far as I can tell, with clearly visible press credentials).

Again, keep in mind that if things like this can happen with impunity to credentialed journalists like Eslocker and Goodman (et al.), what might you think is happening to your ordinary demonstrator or bystander?

This shouldn't be a partisan issue: I would expect Republicans -- who talk a lot about freedom and liberty and the need to limit state power when it suits them -- to express at least some concern about what appears to be a very heavy hand here.

I'm not holding my breath, though.

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