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Police hope violent St. Paul protests will end

AMY FORLITI / Associated Press | September 2, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Republican's hurricane-shortened convention should get down to business Tuesday, but police are less sure whether downtown St. Paul will return to normal or again be the scene of violent protests.

Police arrested more than 280 people Monday during a series of skirmishes that ranged throughout downtown St. Paul, some within blocks of the hockey arena where the Republican National Convention began its four-day run.

"We are prepared for this type of activity to continue all week, although we certainly hope that the violence is done and the rest of the week will be peaceful," said Minneapolis Police Capt. Amelia Huffman. Minneapolis is one of many agencies working with St. Paul on security.

The small but persistent band of self-described anarchists were blamed for attacking delegates, smashing windows, puncturing car tires, throwing bottles and starting at least one fire. Their actions largely overshadowed a much larger antiwar march that snaked from the Capitol to the convention site at the Xcel Energy Center.

"This is a time for people to engage in proper political dialogue ... we will continue to allow that to happen in the city of St. Paul," said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "We will send a very loud and clear message to those who choose to break the law and endanger the safety of others. We will pursue you, and we will not let this stand."