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Republican National Convention

Organizers press demand for Anti-war protest permits

by staff |
April 7, 2007
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Saint Paul, MN - The city council here passed a resolution April 4 directing city personnel to ensure the right to political speech and civic debate during the Republican National Convention. The convention is scheduled to take place over Labor Day weekend, 2008.

Groups organizing for demonstrations during the Republican National Convention say the resolution is positive. They also point out that city officials have so far refused to give them permits for planned anti-war rallies.

The protest organizers submitted permit applications and payments in October 2006. After holding the applications for five months, Saint Paul police returned them, saying permits won’t be considered until next year.

Protest organizers insist that permits must be dealt with now.

Jess Sundin, of the Anti-war Committee, says, “Bush is waging a terrible war on the people of Iraq. Saint Paul should not stand in the way of the tens of thousands who will come here to demonstrate against that war. City government is devoting a huge amount of time, effort and money to planning for the RNC, and that should include accommodating protesters. Failing to approve our permits in a timely manner serves to suppress organizing efforts against the war. We want permits to demonstrate at the RNC in 2008 and we will not tolerate ‘protest pens’ or being kept at away. Permits or not, we will speak out against the war in Iraq, when we take to the streets of Saint Paul September 1-4, 2008.”

Local organizations that have signed on to the protest include the Anti-War Committee, Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Students for a Democratic Society (at the University of Minnesota), Twin Cities Peace Campaign - Focus on Iraq, Women Against Military Madness, the Welfare Rights Committee and AFSCME Local 3800.