POSTED: 2 SEPTEMBER 2008 - 2:00Pm

Amy Goodman Arrested at GOP Convention

video above: Amy Goodman arrested. Note the cop looks like John McCain at

by Mike Burke on 1 September 2008 of Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon.

All three were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers. Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back.

Salazar's violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, 'I'm Press! Press!,' resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. Goodman's arm was violently yanked by police as she was arrested.

On Tuesday, Democracy Now! will broadcast video of these arrests, as well as the broader police action. These will also be available on

Goodman was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Kouddous and Salazar who were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman's crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and
Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a 'peace officer.'

Democracy Now! forcefully rejects all of these charges as false and an attempt at intimidation of these journalists. We demand that the charges be immediately and completely dropped.

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this
action by Twin Cities' law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, including a photographer for the Associated Press.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism's top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and the subsequent criminal charges and threat of charges are a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists.

Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

Video of Amy Goodman's Arrest:

As Throngs of Protesters Hit Streets,
Dozens Are Arrested After Clashes


Image above was a photo by Robert Stolarik for the New York Times and removed at request of artist.

by Patrick Healy & Colin Moynihan on 1 September 2008 for NYT

Protesters being arrested in St. Paul on Monday. Most protesters were peaceful, but there were several scenes of high tensions between demonstrators and officers.

Although most of the protesters were peaceful, the police used pepper spray and long wooden sticks to subdue some; several demonstrators also said police officers fired projectiles at them.

In one confrontation downtown, as several dozen demonstrators milled around and danced in the streets, police officers wearing helmets, padded vests and shin guards converged on the group. As the two sides faced off and tensions rose, the police squirted pepper spray into the crowd.

“I saw the cops shooting,” said a man who gave his name as Jude Ortiz. Orange foam lay on the pavement, along with a red cloth object the size of a finger that contained beads.

A commander in the St. Paul Police Department, Doug Holtz, said he knew nothing about projectiles being used near Jackson Street, where one of the most intense confrontations took place.

Commander Holtz said officers had fired “less lethal” 40-millimeter projectiles in a park near the Mississippi River, where he said demonstrators had thrown bottles and other objects at officers. He said 75 people or more had been arrested there.
These scenes from the first day of the Republican convention contrasted sharply with the more muted demonstrations at the Democratic convention in Denver last week. The protests Monday in St. Paul were much more pitched, and the number of protesters and police officers here was far greater.

At one point, a group of about 200 protesters — many wearing black bandannas across their faces and some wearing black balaclavas — roamed through downtown, shouting and chanting and throwing street signs and concrete planters in the road. At another point, a police officer grabbed one of the youths. Others wrested him away, then appeared to knock the officer to the ground. On one knee, the officer released an arc of pepper spray.


Image above was a photo by Robert Stolarik for the New York Times and removed at request of artist.

Elsewhere in St. Paul, a prominent Democratic Party strategist, Donna Brazile, was hit by pepper spray while trying to walk around protesters outside the convention hall, Ms. Brazile said in an interview.

“I got a strong whiff — just toxic — and my head and throat are still hurting,” said Ms. Brazile, who appears on CNN as a political analyst. “I’ll avoid the protesters tomorrow.”

Along the highways leading to downtown, protesters stood on overpasses with signs demanding the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, war crimes charges against the Bush administration and new laws on equal pay.

In one of the most chaotic moments, members of the Republican delegation from Connecticut said they were shoved and spat upon by protesters near the convention hall, according to the state party’s executive director, Heath Fahle. He wrote an item on the party’s blog describing a “human chain” of protesters who tried to block Republicans at a security perimeter near the convention site. Besides the shoving and spitting, the protesters shouted epithets at the dozens of delegates, Mr. Fahle wrote.

As the protests grew, scores of National Guard troops in riot gear and gas masks fanned out around the Xcel Energy Center, where the convention is being held, and set up a blockade about three blocks away. Police helicopters buzzed over St. Paul throughout the day. Humvees painted in fatigue green ferried water to police officers working in the 88-degree heat, and city dump trucks were used to block traffic on some streets.


Image above was a photo by Robert Stolarik for the New York Times and removed at request of artist.

Republican officials said about 30 agencies were policing the city on Monday, including the St. Paul and Minneapolis Police Departments and the Ramsey County and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Departments.

The clashes between the police and protesters were mostly sporadic. One of the largest of the demonstrations, which had a permit from the local authorities, began around 1 p.m. at the Minnesota Capitol and unfolded peacefully for the most part along the designated route.

Near the start of the march, two women and a young man secured themselves with chains to a car that obstructed traffic.

Just after 5 p.m., Jerah Plucker, 33, a documentary filmmaker from Minneapolis, called a reporter to say that he was among about 300 people surrounded by officers in the park along the banks of the Mississippi facing Harriet Island.

Mr. Plucker, who works for an organization called Freespeak Media, said people had been listening to musicians in the park when officers formed a cordon.
“Over the loudspeaker they are saying, ‘You are being arrested,’ ” he said. “They’re telling us, ‘Sit down, put your hands on your head.’ ”


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