Date registered: Aug 2002
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Hundreds to be charged in court after RNC protests
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) -- Almost 300 people will be formally charged in Ramsey County District Court on Tuesday after they were arrested during protests at the Republican National Convention, a police spokesman said.
Police arrested 284 people Monday after firing projectiles, pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a crowd demonstrating near the convention site.
Police used plastic handcuffs to detain between 20 and 30 of them a few blocks from the security perimeter around the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.
St. Paul police said 130 of the 284 arrested were being held on felony charges. The rest were charged with various misdemeanors.
A crowd of about 300 people conducted what appeared to be a sit-in in a parking lot near the Mississippi River on Monday.
Earlier in the day, a group of self-described anarchists threw park benches into streets and smashed windows, police said.
St. Paul police spokesman Thomas Walsh said Monday afternoon that some of those arrested are accused of property damage and conspiracy to riot.
The arrest of the "anarchists" came after almost 5,000 protesters marched peacefully outside the site of the convention. Walsh said they were part of a "splinter group" of the main body of protesters.
"I think they did a disservice to those that came here to protest," he said.
Five police cars were among the property that was damaged, Walsh said.
On Sunday, police saw little disruption ahead of the convention, which was scaled back because of Hurricane Gustav. Despite Monday's disruptions, the security plan is working, Walsh said.
"We had some expectation that there may be some of this activity," he said.
The Republican convention, which began Monday, has been designated a "national special security event," which means the Secret Service is responsible for planning and implementing security.
But the primary responsibility for street-level security falls to local police agencies. St. Paul received $50 million in federal grant money to pay for additional security.
The St. Paul Police Department estimated it would require $34 million to pay 3,500 extra officers. The remaining money is for training and equipment, the department said.
Numerous federal agencies are helping provide security, including the FBI, Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration.
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