The anti-war rally organized on the final day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul ended in fine form after marchers were thwarted by police in every attempt to come within even 1,000 yards of the Excel Energy Center. The marchers began at 4:00 pm and attempted several times to find a route across the freeway to gain access to the convention area. After several hours of being blocked by police, the crowd was directed in the opposite direction, landing on University Ave, a main road that runs between St. Paul and Minneapolis. After blocking traffic in their march back toward the state capital at around 8:30 pm, the police had had enough. Tear gas, flash grenades and pepper spray sent people scattering for cover through the parking lot of Sears as police on bikes, horses, motorcycles and ATV rolled in. Marchers were eventually cornered near a freeway bridge where they were rounded up and arrested. According to CNN about 200 people were arrested, but I cannot be sure myself. There was a very large group of people that were eventually surrounded so I would not be surprised. I was able to get through the line of officers before they closed in. As an outside observer of the march, it was unfortunate to see the police take such harsh measures against what was a very peaceful demonstration. Police donned full body armor, large wooden batons and were very liberal in their use of non-leathal, but rather painful weapons. The marchers never even came close to reaching the convention site and even if they had, the area was completely blocked off by large metal grates that formed a walled perimeter around the arena. Good luck to the St. Paul District Attorney in processing all of these cases and what it's going to cost tax payers God only knows.
Police: 1 Protesters: 0
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