September 1st, 2008
06:34 PM ET

Anarchists at the convention

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.protest2.jpg caption="Protestors vandalize police cars in the streets outside the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center, Monday."]
Joe Johns
CNN Correspondent | Bio

At Fifth and Jackson streets in St. Paul, anarchists threw newspaper stands and bus benches into the streets, broke windows and otherwise created minor bedlam to accompany the abbreviated first day of the Republican Convention.

As civil unrest goes–and I've witnessed my share–it was. . . well. . . uncivil, but hardly shocking.

The police got worked up, especially when the protestors broke the windows of one of their cruisers.

The officers, dressed in riot gear, and some on motorcycles, chased the troublemakers around blocks of downtown St. Paul, almost to the mild amusement of nonplussed Midwesterners. They're not quite accustomed to this kind of thing but find it curious.

"Lord no!" one man in a baseball cap answered when I asked if they'd ever had this type of excitement around these parts.

When I looked up one of the anarchists was lobbing a bottle of Dasani water at a police car. Call it a Molotov Cocktail, minus the Molotov, and minus the Cocktail.

A woman, who didn't see the water bottle fly, but noticed me writing this, pointed out that "texting and walking is a danergous thing."

Some other random items:

– Noticed I was walking in a small crowd of people following the anarchists.

– Asked one couple: Are you just following them around to see what they do? The wife answered Yes; it was either that or go to the mall.

Labor day I guess.

Filed under: Joe Johns • Republicans
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Kent, Illinois

    I was in St. Paul today and saw the crowds. I went the other way. Being originally from MN I can tell you that most of the delinquent protesters had to be from out of state. Minnesotans really don't know how to create chaos. Yes, that bottle of water that was thrown probably came from a Minnesotan lol..........

    September 1, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  2. JudyL

    Ahhh Cindy, Cindy, Cindy;
    Each of us, thankfully is entitled to our own opinions. The fact that CNN posts an usually high number of your blocks; really does leave many of us wondering, 'why'? But I absolutely respect your freedom of speech.
    And to Fay in Ca.... You go girl! Thanks for your opinion! Thank you for your honesty and thank you for your candor. And thank you, most of all for your humility; in understanding that not EVERYONE wants to hear our opinions. And I am MOST grateful to hear yours. Many thanks for 'callin' 'em like you see 'em'!! 🙂

    September 1, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  3. Janet

    This is being hugely misreported. Why can't I find any information on CNN about the arrest of journalist Amy Goodman and two producers of Democracy Now? It's a serious problem when journalists trying to cover a protest are arrested. Slate has the story. Why aren't the major news organizations covering this?

    September 1, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  4. lampe

    lamont: What gives you the right to call someone names? What bothers me is that people who are Obamas supporters, still feel the need to make evil-hate-filled comments. Obama should be real proud, of the hate he brings out in people. GROW-UP

    September 1, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  5. Sara in Minneapolis

    Aw, we Minnesotans are so cute. Throwing water! "It was this or go to the mall"!

    September 1, 2008 at 9:27 pm |
  6. Jeff B

    Why isn't Anderson at the Republican convention.

    How Democratic of you CNN.

    September 1, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  7. Cindy

    @ Fay, CA...same could be said for someone who bashes people constantly on the blog. Jealous much!?

    @ Lamont....Have you ever heard one word of racism from McCain? You are the typical Obama supporter crying racism anytime someone is against Obama. Get over it and come up with real issues and stances not make believe trash.


    September 1, 2008 at 9:12 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    It is so funny that people were following the protesters to see what was happening because it was more interesting than going to the mall. Somehow I never pictured protesting as a spectator sport.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 1, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  9. Lamont austin

    Just from Cindy... Ga's reation, they must be either protesting Mclames birthday or the fact that RNC's celebration party. also Mclames wife looks and acts like she-they are elite-ist. It bothers me that everytime Mcclames talks about Obama theres this crude look and tone that suggest how dare a blackman run for president.


    September 1, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  10. Larry

    Did anybody notice if Michael Moore was shooting a movie there?

    September 1, 2008 at 8:07 pm |
  11. Presley

    "...it was either that or go to the mall." rofl....
    This was a refreshing commentary and lightened the mood a bit after a day of hurricanes and pregnant teens. Thank You Joe Johns.

    (Side note, i do not endorse any acts of violence or anarchy. Thank You.)

    September 1, 2008 at 7:50 pm |
  12. Steve Sykes

    Only in America would a protester throw a two dollar bottle of drinking at a police car thinking it was a weapon. Radicals everywhere take heart, you have brothers in America.

    September 1, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  13. Neil

    We usually see this kinda stuff on May 1st in Berlin, its not really shocking and im sure the police had it covered, actually it was probably something for them to do.

    September 1, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  14. Heather

    It's always good to know that not even a hurricane/tropical storm will stop the usual outside activities planned during conventions. It's comforting to know that they won't let anything stop them from vandalizing property. It's good to see they have their priorities straight.

    What a bunch of selfish schmucks(yiddish for idiot). I hope they got arrested and have to pay for the damage.

    September 1, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  15. Fay, CA

    But it seems these guys were just trying to get notoriety and their 15 seconds of fame. Other than being quite comical they really made no point.

    The same could be said for people who insist on posting blog comments at a rate that approaches the absurd.

    September 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  16. Uma, Liverpool, UK

    🙂 Priceless.

    September 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Vandalizing anything while protesting is just ridiculous. But it seems these guys were just trying to get notoriety and their 15 seconds of fame. Other than being quite comical they really made no point.


    September 1, 2008 at 6:43 pm |