It turns out, this kind of intimidation was occurring everywhere around St. Paul, and in the case of Providence, Rhode Island's Jared Paul, a slam poet, organizer and sometime journalist for The Agenda, the jailable offenses included simply walking to a concert.
To hear Paul tell it, as he does eloquently here, he and dozens of others were on their way to the SEIU benefit concert at Harriet Island Pavilion. He was listening to the show in a park across the river and saw others walking across a bridge to get there. He took to the bridge and suddenly found people going in the opposite direction. Up ahead was "an enormous line of storm trooper looking riot police and what looked like National Guardsmen, in full army gear, had blocked the entire width of the road and were advancing steadily toward us like one long plow blade. There were hundreds of them, some with gas masks, some on bikes, and many holding new age weapons I had never seen before."
Helicopters buzzed ahead. They ran in the opposite direction only to find that a similar row of police blocked off the other end of the park and they were trapped. They were told to sit down and put their hands on their heads, and eventually were arrested for conspiracy to riot.
Slug from Atmosphere posted Paul's bail and now he's set for trial. The ACLU is unable to help him at this point because they're so inundated with other RNC arrests.
To help him with legal costs, fellow Rhode Islander Sage Francis recorded the song below, "Conspiracy to Riot," and is making it available for free. You can donate to Paul's cause here.
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