Local activists at the RNC

So the shit is flyin' in St. Paul. And we have some Tampa Bay activists in the thick of it.

This week, homeless advocate Bruce Wright and other local activists joined the anarchists, Ron Paulites, FBI agents, media whores and real whores in the Twin Cities for the Republican National Convention. As expected, all hell broke loose.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was arrested along with some of her crew under questionable circumstances. Local cops and FBI moles infiltrated and raided several activist houses. Anarchists responded. Cops canceled a rare Rage Against Machine show. And Trojan showed up with, yep, free condoms.

(Check out photos from the Twin Cities' alt-weekly here and here.)

Here's a report from Bruce Wright's first day:

Hello everyone, it's Bruce with the Refuge. Currently, myself and 2 others from the ministry are at the Republican Convention in Minneapolis to participate in the non partisan Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights March for Our Lives Protest and March. We are sleeping on the streets with the homeless and poor from the Campaign from around the country. Today we will be participating in interfaith service and an arts and cultural event. Tomorrow we will be participating in the large anti war march and that night a Truth Commission that will look at Economic Human Rights VIolations from around the country. We will hear testimony of Human Rights violations of the homeless by Law Enforcement, State, Federal, and Local governments and municipalities. And, finally, it will cuminate in the Poor Peoples March on Tuesday at 11AM. Thus far, the Police have used heavy handed tactics on protesters and organizing centers. And, they have raided and shut down the Poor Peoples Encampment near convention, without just cause or legal right to do so. The Encampment, where we are, has had to move to a low income neighborhood. So, we continue to struggle for our Civil Liberties and right to dissent. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

I haven't heard from Wright since and he hasn't returned my call. With all the mass arrests, I wouldn't be surprised if he's in a cell right now ...

UPDATE: Heard back from Wright. He made it back late this afternoon. He says the police response to the protests was heavy-handed and indiscriminate:

"There was a lot of provoking by the police," he said. "The vast majority of people that have been arrested have not been troublemakers ...  One of the things that was more obvious to me is these cops were way too jacked up. They wanted a fight."

Wright marched in the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, which attracted thousands. He had a brief cameo in a Democracy Now report:

RICK ROWLEY: The march disengaged from the police and wound through the city, pausing in front of the jail, where hundreds of protesters remained incarcerated.

REV. BRUCE WRIGHT: Reverend Bruce Wright with Refuge Ministries, and I’m with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, the Tampa Bay chapter of it. And we’re here marching with the Poor People’s Campaign for Economic Human Rights. Today we’re having a march for our lives, representing the needs of the homeless and the poor of our country. There’s been a war ongoing against the homeless and poor, particularly people of color in our country, and we’re tired of it. We’re not going to take it anymore. We believe it’s an issue of justice. As a person of faith, I believe it’s an issue of faith, as well. And that’s why I’m here.

Wright said he's hoping to bring elements of the Poor People's Campaign to St. Pete. And judging by the latest attack on the homeless here, Wright will have a lot to protest about.

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