Anarchy at RNC: Protesters smash up downtown, police mace up protesters

By Andy Mannix

Protest organizers predicted a peaceful march today outside the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, but groups of hammer-toting anarchy enthusiasts decided to take an entirely different approach to spreading their message. Shortly before 1:30 p.m., the "March on the RNC" turned into a battleground as protesters wreaked havoc on the streets of St. Paul, smashing windows of buildings and cars, tipping over dumpsters and throwing metal debris in front of police cars. Police were eager to suit up in their new riot-gear.

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A rioter throws a bottle. More photos in our day one slideshows.

A few canisters of mace later (my skin still feels as if it's being devoured by fire ants) police dispersed the hodgepodge parade of activists -- all seemingly with their own cause -- and the march broke off into multiple different groups. Somewhere along the way the march regained its momentum, but I was trapped in a maze of barricades and temperamental police officers for a good half hour in the meantime.

Here's a clip of protesters tussling with police and getting sprayed:



Easy to spot dousing their mace inflamed eyeballs with vinegar and decked out in pseduo-ninja/cowboy outifts, the anarchist groups made their mark on St. Paul today. Many Obama supporters say they wanted a civil and peaceful protest of the Republican Party and were upset that the self-proclaimed anarchist groups, such as the RNC Welcoming Committee, took to violence. "This is getting out of hand," protester Jake Rotde said. "Everytime you (use violence), you're drawing negative attention to your case."-- Andy Mannix


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