The St. Paul Police Department is way out of line. L. is in the Twin Cities, having gone out there with the purpose of covering the GOP convention for FireDogLake's Campaign Silo, but the real story has turned out to be the action on the streets of St. Paul, especially the totally disproportionate police response to citizen protest -- preemptive raids on a legal aid collective, reporters assaulted and arrested, Donna Brazille pepper sprayed, mass arrests... as Glenn Greenwald observed, didn't we just finish condemning China for imprisoning protesters during the Olympics?
The widespread crackdown against peaceful protesters during the 2004 RNC in New York was shameful, but Minneapolis-St. Paul 2008 is shaping up to be even worse. And what with Preznit Bush's sly reference to the "angry left" tonight, you'd almost think the authorities were deliberately trying to provoke unrest with their heavy-handed tactics. (It's not like there's no precedent for that.) [UPDATE: Sara Robinson shares my suspicions.]
Amidst all of this antidemocratic insanity, I can't even find it in myself to take any grim satisfaction in the poetic justice inherent in this vignette:
There was a photographer right next to me who was also taken down pretty violently. He was screaming he was press, as well. He had credentials. He kept saying he was a photographer for the New York Post. And quite funnily, he said, “For Christ’s sake, it’s a Republican paper!” But that didn’t seem to matter.
L. is on the story -- check her photostream and regular dispatches for FireDogLake. And Salon's Glenn Greenwald has a comprehensive rundown.