Despite rumors of unrest, Twin Cities police are expecting that tonight’s anti-war rally will be a peaceful rally. I spoke to Brian Lockwood of the Joint Information Center around the time the march was scheduled to begin.
Demonstrators will begin at the Capitol, proceed downtown, loop around the xCell Energy Center where John McCain is accepting the presidential nomination, and return to the Capitol. The permit was issued for 9am to 7pm, but organizers told police that the event would take place between 4 and 7pm.
The Joint Information Center stresses that only a handful of the thousands of people who demonstrated during the RNC this week engaged in illegal conduct.
Lockwood noted that all the people who held permits for protest marches have assembled peacefully. The acts of vandalism that have grabbed headlines this week have been carried out by a small group of individuals who were not affiliated with the official sponsors.
As I reported yesterday, even local activists groups are expressing frustration at the disruptive tactics, which they feel detract from the message of their events.
"You actually heard organizers yelling at individuals ‘do not hijack our march’," Lockwood said of the Poor People’s March. After the organizers did so, "the march went on very peacefully for four miles."
I’m receiving scattered reports of heavy police presence from observers in the field. I’m not at the Capitol right now. My cab got into an accident on the way downtown, this morning. I’ll be heading downtown later on. Expect further updates as events unfold.