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Terrorizing Dissenters at the RNC

Student Researcher– Trudy Kaiser

Faculty Evaluator– Vicky Brockman, Ph.D.

Southwest Minnesota State University


In September 2008, the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention was

transformed into a forbidding police state. St. Paul, Minnesota officers in full riot gear arrested hundreds of marchers, beating some and using tear gas and pepper spray on people who were not resisting arrest. Parts of the city were closed off, and the county jail resembled a fortress with its armed guards. Three days before the convention, officials directed action toward organizing group, the RNC Welcoming Committee. Police raided the activist convergence space in West St. Paul, detaining everyone on site and seizing pamphlets and other property. Police also descended on three homes and arrested members of the group, while snatching others off the street. In addition to activists, many legal observers, journalists, and street medics were also detained or arrested.

The activist arrestees face felony charges under Minnesota’s version of the federal PATRIOT Act and include “conspiracy to riot in futherance of terrorism.” Defendant Luce Guilen-Givins states,”It’s significant that people would be prosecuted as terrorists for involving themselves in political dissent. We do have a right to protest. Any prosecution under a PATRIOT Act infringes on those rights.”


“Ramsey County Charges RNC 8 Under State Patriot Act, Alleges Acts of Terrorism” National Lawyers Guild Minnesota, September 2008


“RNC Protesters Tried on Terrorism Charges Despite Acknowledgment They Didn’t Commit Alleged Acts” Democracy Now! February 18, 2009

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