Peace Activists Detained at Gunpoint at the RNC : RushPRNews - Newswire & Global Press Release Distribution

Bookmark and Share

Peace Activists Detained at Gunpoint at the RNC

September 3, 2008

RNCDetained at Gunpoint, Peace Activists on ‘Federal Watch List' are released without charge

By Paul Schmelzer

Saint-Paul,MN (RUSHPRNEWS)09/03/2008--Sometimes you go to the news. Other times, it's vice-versa. Like today. Editing video at a workspace near West 7th Street in St. Paul, I noticed the flash of police lights out the window and grabbed my video camera to see what was going on.

Peering through the window screen, I saw at least eight St. Paul Police and Transit Police cars stopped on the street and officers surrounding a red car, guns drawn. Two women and a man were removed the car, and the man I recognized from the largely peaceful march by the Poor People's Economic Human Rights campaign.

Bald with a moustache, the man was confronting a small group of young people who wore black bandannas across their faces. They were trying to start a "Fuck the police" chant, but he - Hal Muskat, a Veterans for Peace advocate from San Francisco - would have none of it. Emphasizing that the march was a peaceful event, he calmed the young people down, actually getting them to good-humoredly chant "Unfuck the police" instead.

Just two days ago, Muskat was on Democracy Now!, the radio and satellite TV program hosted by Amy Goodman, who herself was detained in St. Paul this week. On the Sept. 1 program, Muskat, who served in the Army from 1965 to 1970, told Goodman he's not fond of John McCain, the star of this week's GOP convention. "I don't trust him. I don't like him," he said. "I don't think he speaks for veterans. I think he speaks for a very small, very - too vocal minority of right-wing veterans that would just as soon McCain said, ‘Vietnam wasn't fought right. We're going back.'"
Lisa Fithian, in a squad car

With him today, en route to the airport where Muscat has an evening flight, was Texas native Lisa Fithian and New Yorker Laurie Arbeiter. The three were handcuffed and taken away in separate squad cars.

When I asked police what was going on, I was told it was a "routine traffic stop" (with drawn guns?), then was asked to turn off my camera (I didn't). Police wouldn't comment further.

Thirty minutes after being hauled off, the trio was returned to their car, which is owned by and licensed to Fithian, who says she's part of the Pagan Cluster, a nonviolent group of people and groups who aim to "bring an earth-based spirituality to global justice and peace actions." She was also involved with Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" antiwar protest outside the Bush ranch in the summer of 2005, and she was involved in direct actions during the WTO protests of 1999. She's on the National Steering Committee of United for Peace and Justice.

Fithian says the officers were "very aggressive" and that, at first, they wouldn't reveal why they'd been stopped. But finally, when she asked if she was being arrested, an officer told her, "‘Your car has been put on a stop and search list by the federal government,'" she said.
Laurie Arbeiter

Arbeiter says she's affiliated with The Critical Voice, an organization that produced shirts in six languages that bore the mantra of the Student Resistance Movement, a group of university students who stood up to the Nazis in 1942. She wore the English-language version of the shirt, which had simple white type on black. "They decided enough is enough and they wouldn't be silent," she said.

Referring to onlookers who witnessed the detention, she continued, "Well, these people here need to understand that if [the police] can just pull up and take us away, they can come and get them. They can profile them according to whatever profile they they want to attach to criminality. And we're seeing more and more that that attachment doesn't stick, but they can detain people."

Contacted about the detainments, St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune said individuals who feel they've been improperly treated by police, should carefully document their experiences in writing and, if possible, through photos. The Council is planning on having a post-RNC debriefing with St. Paul police to discuss such complaints.



About the author:

RushPR News is a social media newswire service created to help you with content creation and distribution to news outlets and social media networks. RushPRnews can also assist you with your web strategies with experts advices and strategies at an affordable cost. Write us at

Click here to see all news from this author/company

Filed Under: Human-rights, Politics, World News, PRESS RELEASE, BREAKING NEWS

RUSH PR NEWS newswire and press release services at / Anne Howard

Content- Legal Responsibility - All material is copyrighted - You may repost but you MUST link back to the original post on your page and acknowledge Rush PR News as the news source. Rush PR News is not legally and/or morally responsible for content of press releases, opinions expressed or fact-checking.

Rush PR News cannot be held legally responsible for material published and distributed through its newswire service or published in its press-room and therefore cannot be sued for published material. Third-party must be contacted directly to dispute content.

Rush PR News is not the contact for material published.


Vegan Challenge to Scotland's Doctors, Midwives, Nutritionists and Dietitians

Glasgow, Scotland 11/30/15 · VegfestUK has been organising educational vegan festivals in...

Fuzion International Launches Menswear Collection in San Francisco for the Elevated Spirit

SAN FRANCISCO 11/27/15 · — Fuzion International, a San Francisco-based elevated “lifestyle...

BLACK FRIDAY SALE: PR Coupon available! Valid 4 days only!

San Francisco 11/27/15 · BLACK FRIDAY PR valid until Tuesday, December 5...

Fuzion International thrilled to be a part of CFC 1

SAN FRANCISCO 11/25/15 · What an awesome fighting event. Fuzion International, a San...

The African-American Dating Experience

Austin, TX 11/24/15 · New book Chronicles The African American Dating Experience…And...

The eWheel Adventure Begins! Self Balancing Scooter Market Explodes

ATLANTA, GA 11/15/15 · From the Hover-board to the eWheel the self-balancing...

GreenRoad Releases Next Generation of its Mobile Application

Austin, TX 11/11/15 · GreenRoad Releases the Next Generation of its Mobile...

Fuzion International Coming to San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO 11/10/15 · Come and meet lifestyle brand designer Lucas Molo...

Popular New Service Enables Customers to Order a Christmas Tree Online

New Brunswick, Canada 11/10/15 · The pace of modern living means we don't...

Hilltop Christmas Tree Farms Launches Modern Delivery Service

New Brunswick, MA 11/07/15 · Hilltop Christmas Tree Farms has launched a new...

New Service Delivers Fresh Christmas Trees to Hot Texas Homes

TEXAS 11/06/15 · It’s not always easy to fill a home...

Georgia Rapper Young Kuntry Release New Video/Single/LP

Atlanta, Ga 11/06/15 · Young Kuntry, one of Georgia most popular upcoming...

Digital Traffic Systems Awarded Contract in Ohio for Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) Maintenance

RICHMOND, VA 11/04/15 · Digital Traffic Systems, Inc. ( has been awarded...

Welcome to the World’s most Supercharged Messenger Bag for Commuters

London, UK 11/03/15 · The ability to charge a smartphone or iPad...