Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm
barondave

RNC: Day 1, Part 3: A Tale of Two Cities

Forgive the long post. I want to finish up with Monday before Wednesday rolls around.

Inside

Hurricane Information Center
Hurricane Information Center
Xcel Energy Center, site of the RNC
Sept. 1, 2008CE

Republicans care. They understand that Bush and Cheney are where they need to be and can't address the party faithful. They are truly concerned about the people of the Gulf Coast.

Outside

Crowd Control
Crowd Control outside the Republican National Convention
Line of police facing away from the protestors with many others facing inward
Sept. 1, 2008CE

I talked to a lot of convention staffers and security people. None of them wanted to be on the record, but they were friendly and often chatted off the record. Everyone I talked to -- from t-shirted security to riot-armored police -- were unfailingly polite and professional. Indeed, everyone I talked to about the police describe them as such, using terms like "restrained".

I would agree with Glenn Greenwald that St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be -- and I lived near West Point. Still, while the police presence may be out of proportion to the actual problems caused by a few protestors, that decision is not made on the local level, and it's not made by any one person in gear. On the individual level, the police (from many jurisdictions around the country) handled themselves well.

There were some problems, such as this video of a flower-bearing woman getting pepper-sprayed. This story isn't over.

It was hard to get out of the RNC: Double fences surrounded the entire complex, and only a few checkpoints served to let people in and out. It was easier getting in than to get out. Similarly, it was hard to join the protestors. The police completely surrounded the marchers for several hours. If you left, you couldn't get back in, as I reported yesterday. I continue with that range of interviews on the streets of St. Paul, outside the ring of riot police.

Karmela Sabri, with her father, holding a sign saying "Save the Palestinian Children".

Bruce Moffat, who wanted to join the marchers but was forced to wait on the street before returning to his protest boat anchored (with permit) nearby.

I did get a riot policeman to chuckle. The inner ring of police and the outer ring made getting into Mickey's Diner impossible. "Too bad," I said when the policeman denied my request to go through the lines, "it's a good diner."

Mickey's Diner
Mickey's Diner, A St. Paul landmark
Unavailable Sept. 1, 2008CE

Inside

Uncle Sam
A hydrated Uncle Sam
Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Sept. 1, 2008CE

Wayne Hessler of The Otto Show, a "citizen correspondent" who is conservative and likes picking stories to support his viewpoint.

Fabian Cohen of The Israel Project. A Jewish bipartisan multinational group who want to influence Democrats and Republicans alike.

What's the best way to end the day at a Republican gathering? With prayer.

Minyan at RNC
The minyan that gathered to daven before sunset
(missing one who didn't want to be photographed)
Roy Wilkins Auditorium, 1 Elul 5768
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