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Pressing for RNC march permits

No business as usual for Saint Paul City Council

by staff |
October 1, 2007
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St. Paul, MN - As the head of the Saint Paul City Council banged her gavel, Deb Konechne, of the Coalition to March on the RNC & Stop the War and the Welfare Rights Committee, stood up and demanded that council members listen to statements on why permits should be granted now for a massive anti-war march at the Republican National Convention. When the Council refused to hear the statements, protesters chanted, “We need the permits,” and marched out of the meeting.

In April, groups involved in the Coalition to March on the RNC & Stop the War resubmitted their permit applications for demonstrating in Saint Paul on Sept. 1, 2008. The city of Saint Paul has not responded to their requests to receive a permit and instead have formed a ‘free speech’ working group. This working group is discussing what rights protesters will have to demonstrate, but is not considering or listening to what the community needs to protest against the Republican agenda.

Marie Braun, of the Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq, stated, “Next September the Republican Party will be here to chose the candidate who will best keep this country on a path of occupation and war. Similarly, on Sept. 1, 2008 tens of thousands of people from Minnesota, from the Midwest, and from around the country will gather in Saint Paul to march on the RNC and to demand and end the war on Iraq.”

A protest organizer, Meredith Aby of the Coalition to March on the RNC & Stop the War notes, “The RNC march has been endorsed by peace and justice groups around the country. People from around the country are planning to come here to demonstrate against the war and speak out against the Republican agenda. Many of those coming are asking about the permits.”

This effort is backed by local organizations that have organized the major Twin Cities anti-war protests. In addition, the organizations that have organized the large anti-war and immigrant rights demonstrations in Washington D.C., New York and on the West Coast have also signed on. These organizations include; CODEPINK, International Action Center, Latinos Against War (Los Angeles), the March 25 Coalition - Los Angeles, May 1 Movement for Worker and Immigrant Rights, Troops Out Now Coalition, United for Peace and Justice and many chapters of Students for a Democratic Society.

Local signers include the Anti-War Committee, AFSCME Local 3800, American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council, Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Low Income People Organizing for Power, Military Families Speak Out, MN Immigrants Rights Action Coalition, Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq, Welfare Rights Committee and Women Against Military Madness and many others.

Protest organizer Mick Kelly of the Coalition to March on the RNC & Stop the War says, “We are taking a message to the Saint Paul City Council. We want the permits to march on the RNC now. City government needs to stop fooling around with its so-called free speech committee and grant the permits so we can exercise that freedom and speak out against the war at the RNC.”