RNC protests turn violent; hundreds arrested
An anarchist protester smashes in the window of a department store in downtown St. Paul on Monday afternoon. The anarchist’s left a trail of destruction in their wake including a smashed police car.
Publish Date: 09/02/2008
Temporary Reporter: Daily Staff
A separate, militant contingent of the planned RNC protest Monday commandeered intersections, broke windows and turned riotous in downtown St. Paul.
A mob of 200 anarchists marched through the streets of downtown St. Paul shouting, “Whose streets? Our streets.”
By the time they were through with their impromptu protest Monday afternoon, they were right.
A Minneapolis police car sat gutted after protesters smashed its windows as a horde of police finally caught up with them nearly two hours after the melee began.
Police were broadsided by the protest and opted to contain, rather than conclude, the unsanctioned demonstration-turned-riot.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said police arrested around 100 protesters throughout Monday afternoon, and media outlets reported more than 283 people had been arrested, including 129 on felonies, as of press of time.
Deciding the route block-by-block based on which paths were least populated by police, the black-clad anarchist group stormed the streets of St. Paul with media members in tow, knocking over newspaper boxes and street-side garbage cans to block roadways.
Roadway blockers became the least of concerns when the group dug bricks out of landscaped areas and threw them at windows.
At one point, smoke bombs billowed and the smell and sting of pepper spray filled the air as protesters smashed windows in nearby buildings, including the First National Bank Building and Macy’s.
About a dozen police cars rolled up Sixth Street, and the anarchists ran to an intersection with a barricade to block advancing authorities. One jumped on the hood and roof of a squad car before rejoining the mob.
One squad car swerved to the side, and protesters smashed all its windows before scurrying into a full parking lot. They dodged cars and slinked through an alley without police pursuit, bringing the riot to an abrupt end.