Minnesota county cops raided protest organization sites to stop what authorities called an "anarchist plot" to disrupt the Republican National Convention. The police action triggered an angry response from activists and free speech advocates. Supplied with information from police infiltrators, cops battered down doors and busted five activists in raids in Minneapolis and St. Paul over the weekend, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Police displayed a gun, knives, paint, slingshots, rocks and buckets of urine confiscated from homes and an office linked to a protest group calling itself the RNC Welcoming Committee. "We know these things were going to be used as weapons," said a police spokesman. But a City Council member called the action a "pre-emptive strike" against free speech. To arrest people on "conspiracy without evidence criminalizes protected political activity and speech," said a spokesman for the National Lawyers Guild. (Read more St. Paul stories.)