Police raid anarchist homes in advance of RNC

Infiltration programs aided the pre-emptive strike

"That's when the entire tone changed," says Eidson. "Almost right after that, they let us go and told us to go back inside. Then they took off. They didn't take any of our stuff with them."

Bruce Nestor of the National Lawyers Guild, who is representing five jailed activists, contends that the raids were politically motivated.

"We have not been allowed to see the affidavits that were filed in support of the search warrants," he says. "We're confident they'll wait until the 10 days are up, until after the RNC."

This St. Paul duplex was raided over the weekend
Nick Vlcek
This St. Paul duplex was raided over the weekend

Yet local authorities maintain that the raids were justified.

"I can tell you that there was sufficient probable cause, and there would have been violence had we not executed the warrants," says Tom Walsh, the spokesman for the St. Paul Police Department. "I would suggest that that possibility has been minimized. Not eliminated, but certainly minimized."

On Monday morning, the RNC Welcoming Committee participated in a makeshift press conference in St. Paul. A diverse group of 35 activists gathered around a couch propped before dozens of television cameras. On a corner less than a mile from the Xcel Energy Center, RNC Welcoming Committee member Jesse Sparkles addressed the crowd.

"For our political beliefs and our efforts to organize healthy communities outside the spectacle of electoral politics, five activists remain locked up," she read from a prepared statement. "The people of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the world must take back control of their communities."

Later that day, authorities raided the RNC Welcoming Committee's communication center. Nine people were arrested on charges of conspiracy to riot. 

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