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by Jo Freeman
Outside the Xcel Center
The Democratic National Committee set up shop about a hundred yards from the Xcel Center. The security fence kept press and others from getting there from the Xcel Center easily. This foiled the DNC’s plans to hold daily breakfasts and press briefings.
Entrance to the DNC media center at the Republican Convention
The press briefing room was seldom used.
Before every convention, free speech advocates go to court and get an order for a protest zone within sight and sound of the convention meeting hall. This one met the requirements but was out of sight of any entrance through the security fence. It was on the opposite side of the security zone from the media entrance. The St. Paul Dept. of Parks and Recreation provided the stage, the sound system and monitored the speakers list. To allocate the 48 speaking slots of 50 minutes each, the City held a lottery. Speakers had to bring their own audience. The most anyone brought was five. By Thursday, even the speakers were no shows.
The official protest site attracted few observers
Some protestors preferred to do their thing elsewhere
Two of the four CodePinkers arrested after they crawled under the security fence.
PETA dressed like pigs to talk about taxes.
The best place to see and be seen was in
Rice Park near the media entrance.
MSNBC set up a stage for interviews for "The Place for Politics"
Some gave their opinion of John McCain
Others of Barack Obama
and still others of Iraq
A different group had to get a court order to set up a jumbotron within walking distance of the Xcel center after the city said it would create traffic and safety problems. True Blue Minnesota, a 527 non-profit corporation, showed documentaries, art, photographs and posters with an antiwar and anti-GOP theme during the Republican "invasion" as it called the convention. Its media coverage was greater than its audience.
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