There’s typically little love lost between police and political protesters. But with the Republican National Convention still a day away from officially kicking off here in St. Paul, a war of words and tactics appears to have already begun.
As we’ll share in a little more detail in tomorrow’s paper, law enforcement officials have conducted five raids on buildings associated with the Republican National Convention Welcoming Committee, a self-described “anarchist” organizing body.
Authorities say the group is hoping to cause chaos at the convention by blocking delegate buses and injuring police officers, among other activities.
An inventory of items seized in the raids does appear a bit startling. From the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office:
Materials used in creating “sleeping dragons” (pvc pipe, chicken wire, duct tape); large amounts of urine (including 3 – 5 gallon buckets of urine); Wrist Rockets; Assorted edged weapons including a machete, hatchet and several throwing knives; gas mask and filter; empty glass bottles; rags; flammable liquids homemade caltrops (devises used to disable buses in roads); metal pipes; axes; bolt cutters; sledge hammers; old tires (for burning); repelling equipment; Kryptonite; locks; empty plastic buckets cut and made into shields; material for protective padding; an army helmet.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Holli Drinkwine says these aren’t even all the items seized.
Still, the group is receiving support from fellow protesters planning for a 50,000-person march on the convention Monday, who say police are simply trying to scare people away from voicing their opinions during the four-day affair.
As for the Welcoming Committee themselves? A group spokesperson told The Washington Times last week that they simply acted as an organizing body and that the question of whether committee members themselves would commit violence was moot.
They’ve also posted responses: here, and another one from the raids at three of their activist houses and how they are re-grouping following the raids. And if you’re interested, check out their promo video here. Looks like things could get interesting…