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Protest leaders vow 'Year of organizing against the Republican National Convention'

by Mick Kelly |
September 3, 2007
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Holding banner and speaking in front of stadium
Standing in front to the Xcel Center, Sept. 1, the site of next year’s Republican National Convention, organizers of the massive protest planned against the war on Iraq pressed their demand for permits. (Fight Back! News)

St. Paul, MN - Standing in front to the Xcel Center, Sept. 1, the site of next year’s Republican National Convention, organizers of the massive protest planned against the war on Iraq pressed their demand for permits. The city of Saint Paul has refused to issue permits and is having subcommittees of the city’s so-called Free Speech Committee meeting in secret. Speakers - including members of Women Against Military Madness, the Welfare Rights Committee and the Anti-War Committee - made it clear that would fight any attempt to restrict their right to protest against the Iraq war at the Republican National Convention.

Anh Pham, of the Anti-War Committee stated, “The Republicans cannot expect to come to St. Paul, to the Twin Cities, which had some of the largest and most consistent anti-war demonstrations in the country, to stay silent and let this happen in our backyards. The anti-war voices of Minnesota will not be silenced, the anti-war voices in the U.S. will not be silenced and the voices of the peoples of the world will not be silenced.”

Marie Bram of the Women Against Military Madness condemned the war on Iraq as a crime against humanity, and urged the city to grant the march permits.

“We are outraged that this government spends trillions to carry out occupations and war abroad, while they slash spending for basic human needs at home. We are also outraged that it is us, poor and working folks that are being sent to kill and be killed in this rich man’s war,” said Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee.

Following the Xcel Center press conference, the Anti-War Committee is hosted a ‘pre-versary’ picnic and rally at nearby Mears Park. The event included politically themed games for children and adults, music, poetry and speeches. Local organizations involved in anti-RNC planning also tabled with information for how attendees can get involved in building for next year’s protests.

Leah Entenmann of the Anti-War Committee explains, “The vast majority of Minnesotans oppose the war on Iraq and many are looking for ways to make themselves heard. We see the RNC as a huge opportunity for Minnesotans to join their voices with forces nationally against the war and the Republican agenda. The Saint Paul City Council’s 'Free Speech Committee' sub-committees have been meeting in secret and are seeking to control our organizing efforts. We are using Sept. 1 to launch a year’s worth of organizing against the Republican National Convention, to raise public support for the forthcoming demonstrations and to announce our intention to march on the RNC - with or without the approval of the St. Paul City Council.”

The planned protests at the RNC have the backing of a broad spectrum of peace and justice organizations. Further information can be found at ProtestRNC2008.org

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