Scaled-back convention kicks off as protesters take to the streets
St. Paul is absolute madness, despite the fact that most of the official proceedings were canceled for today. Nearly 10,000 anti-war protesters marched peacefully on the convention earlier today, the largest rally scheduled for the Republican National Convention.
But apparently there was some violence later in afternoon. Someone broke out the window of a police car with a sign, and apparently some blocked traffic. Things were exploding, cops were tear-gassing and shooting rubber bullets, somewhere around 100 protesters were arrested or detained. Police in riot gear have been running all over the city, and I was just down on the riverfront earlier when police on horses surrounded a group of protesters. Total, utter madness.
All traffic in and out of downtown was blocked off for some time. Things are open again now, but the barriers around the Xcel Center, where the main official events are slated to take place, pretty much divides the city in half. I walked a two-mile loop around the Xcel Center to meet David, who was only two blocks away as the crow flies. I’ll have some RNC Day One photos up later from the streets of St. Paul, as well as interviews with delegates and other attendees. Stay tuned.