The majority of the expected 50,000 activists (local media reports say not near that number attended) here in St. Paul to protest the opening day of the Republican National Convention were peaceful and civil.
The 50-75 young folks swathed in black hoods and sweaters I followed from the Capitol Building all around the city as they threw rocks through windows, took hammers to car windows, tipped over garbage cans and wrestled with police...they were not.
And they weren't alone.
This city looks like it's ready for a rebellion. As I'm writing this at 5th and Wabasha
in downtown St. Paul, an armored police truck filled with big camouflaged officers in riot gear is sitting in front of me.
Walk around and you will see squadrons of officers on mountain bikes (which are also being used as tools to corral groups of unruly activists), cop cars are parked at most corners, and poorly disguised beefy undercover agents are almost everywhere.
Most of the big protests are done now, but there are cells (20-40) of young activists blocking intersections and clashing with cops.
It won't be until later today or tomorrow till the full number of arrests and reports of vandalism are in, but I saw three arrests myself (local press
is reporting 13 now).
I also saw between 10 and 15 different activists sprayed with pepper spray as they blocked delegate buses and wrestled with officers.
I saw one activist dance on top of a police car before disappearing into a crowd of hooded associates. The same group wrestled one man away from an officer who was arresting him (picture shown above courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune
Check back later today for all the pictures and video I took, plus more details.
Read all the dispatches from outside the Republican Convention here.