MINNEAPOLIS -- Police arrested protesters near the St. Paul convention site this afternoon and blocked off pedestrian and car traffic into the city center for at least an hour.
While the remains of a peaceful protest parade swirled around one closed road after another, growing increasingly frustrated that they weren't able to get back to their houses and cars, one officer told me that "anarchists" a few blocks away had been causing trouble -- throwing bricks and breaking people's property.
Another reporter confirmed there had been a violent demonstration comprised primarily of young, shirtless men with bandanas over their faces. The reporter had observed a neatly stacked pile of bricks and some broken glass.
By the time I was able to show my press badge to get past the line of armed guards, two protesters were face down on the street with their hands tied behind their back, and another two were sitting against a brick wall. About a dozen police officers, some in riot gear, waited with them until an ambulance arrived. Up and down the streets -- virtually deserted except for media -- groups of other uniformed officers, presumably on stand-by, waited to learn what was next.
The arrests and intense police response, reported as including bikes and horses, seemed yet another upset to the Republican convention. In addition to the impending hurricane on the Gulf Coast, the disrupted schedule of speakers, and the potential imbroglio of Palin's pregnant daughter, the trouble downtown does not add any good news for the Republicans. Judging by the muttering of the hundreds of people who were unable to get downtown this afternoon, it doesn't endear them to the locals either.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more