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Anti-war, progressive organizations put in for more permits to protest at Republican National Convention

by Mick Kelly |
November 3, 2007
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St. Paul, MN - A picket line and press conference took place here Nov. 1, at the office of the police community service unit, to announce that the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War has submitted another application to demonstrate at the Republican National Convention. Permits for protests and demonstrations in Saint Paul are submitted to this office.

This application is a free speech test for the city of Saint Paul. Over the past months city government has used a technicality in the ordinance to avoid dealing with the Coalition’s permit applications. City officials insist that permits cannot be granted until six months prior to a demonstration. A statement from the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War responds: “We are taking this excuse away from them. City law allows us to apply for permits that cover ‘re-occurring events.’ There is no waiting period for this kind of permit, so there is no legal reason, contrived or otherwise, not approve our permit to demonstrate in the vicinity of the site of the RNC.”

Protest organizer Meredith Aby said, “Saint Paul city government should give us the permits for the massive anti-war march on the opening day of the Republican National Convention. We put in our applications almost a year ago and all we have is excuses. This application takes away the excuses.”

The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War wants city government to grant all of the permits they have applied for immediately. According to protest organizer Sarah Martin, “We are not playing games. There is no reason why we cannot have the permits for our march against the war, now.”

The Sept. 1 anti-war protest has the backing of most major anti-war organizations in the United States. Rick Hanson of the Minnesota chapter of Military Families Speak Out, and whose son recently returned from Iraq told protesters, “We are outraged at the criminal policies that lead us into the war and the lies that keep our loved ones in the Bush administration’s unending carnage.”

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