Monday, September 1, 2008

Days of Oppression in Saint Paul, Part I

It's me, Chris, just one of the voices of Junkyard Empire, but I wanted to get something our right away about our experience protesting the RNC today. Here's my short, abbreviated take on things:

We got to the Capital at about 12pm, ready to march on the RNC. There were approximately 15-20,000 people. Around 1:30 we began marching down the hill toward the Xcel Energy Center. To be honest, the march pretty much sucked. Well, most marches are usually kind of boring and devoid of any actual civil disobedience or any actions that actually call attention to the powers that be. However, this march sucked remarkably so, because we actually had to march through a fucking CAGE that was about three blocks long. That's right, the route that was mapped out by the police department was such that they build two big walls of very thick mesh wired fencing that were attached at the bottom to very heavy weights and other contraptions, so as to be made virtually impossible to push over. There was one on each side, making for a closed in maze that we had to walk through. This was, of course, right outside the Xcel Energy Center, otherwise known as the "free speech zone." We will be blogging extensively on just how completely repressive and Orwellian the whole process was. For now, I will skip forward to the action.

After the totally lame peace parade was over, we started to head down Wabasha toward Harriet Island to go check out the Take Back Labor Day Concert. By this point it was just myself, Brian (aka Brihanu), and my wife Szilvia. By the the time we ate some lunch and then got relatively close to the bridge that we were to take across the river to the island, our eyes starting stinging like hell! It suddenly dawned on us, as we were hearing the "pop - pop - pop" of gun-fire, that the cops were shooting tear gas. By the time we could really feel our eyes start to sting and our lungs burn a little, we saw at least fifty or sixty protesters come tearing around the corner toward us and then about fifty cops behind them shooting more tear gas. Luckily, Szilvia and I remembered to bring our swimming goggles! So, we all put on goggles and covered our mouths with bandanas, and we were good to go.

We then turned and ran away from the hoard of cops that were coming up the hill, now practically laughing and pointing mace triggers at us. Eventually, we made our way down to Kellog Ave. and across the Robert Street Bridge to Harriet Island, where we got in time to see Mos Def, Atmosphere, and a little bit of Pharside.

Overall, a great day, with the exception of being maced for doing nothing but walking to a concert, having to walk through a fucking cage in order to exercise our right to free speech.

Let me just say one thing: We will not be silent! And all you fascist motherfuckers who maced us are going to hear what we think about you during our show tomorrow at the Black Dog Block Party and at the other four shows we are playing this week!

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