Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome to St. Paul, You're Under Arrest

St. Paul, Minnesota tags itself as the "most livable city in America." The city, at this moment, doesn't seem too inviting, especially if you are an American activist exercising -- or planning to exercise -- your Free Speech rights or if you are an independent American journalist exercising your Free Press rights.

As co-chair of the Peace Education Center of Greater Lansing, I started getting reports on Saturday, August 30, 2008, via email from people (independently of each other) reporting from St. Paul that police were conducting raids on activists and activists' homes as a lead up to the Republican National Convention. Read about it here. Now word comes today that Amy Goodman and two of her producers from the award-winning Democracy Now! news program were arrested today. See her arrest here:

Amy Goodman Arrested in St. Paul

All of this is on the heals of a Code Pink activist being viciously attacked by the Denver Police last week during the Democratic National Convention. See the attack here:

Code Pink Activist Attacked by Denver Police

This police brutality against activists and journalists will be a hot action item on the Peace Education Center's agenda at its monthly board meeting on Thursday, September 4th. In the meantime, we'll be encouraging those of us not at the convention site to call St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's office beginning Tuesday morning at 651-266-8510.

And, apparently, the City of St. Paul has a Human Rights office and its phone number is 651-266-8966. W.H. Tyrone Terrill is the Director of the Human Rights office.

Democracy Now! has called on all journalists and concerned citizens to phone Christine Rider from Mayor Coleman's office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0). The last word at this point is that Goodman has been released but two DN! producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, were being held for "suspicion of rioting."

As the work week starts Tuesday morning, I hope Mayor Coleman's marketing staff revamps the city's web site to read: "Welcome to St. Paul, where Free speech and Free Press are not."

Call List for Tuesday

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

W.H. Tyrone Terrill
Director, St. Paul Human Rights Dept.

Christine Rider
Mayor Coleman's Staff

Ramsey County Jail
651-266-9350 (press extension 0)

-- Rico Thomas Rico

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