One of Bluestem's young friends tipped me off yesterday that one of the speakers at this morning's Tea Party Against Amnesty, organized in Minnesota by Ruthie Hendrycks, would have an interesting message for the fans of Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform (MINN-SIR) and their fellow travelers.
DJ Danielson of I Don't Hate America was intrigued by the tip as well and so joined me at the state capitol. Together, we watched "Robert Erickson" of Minneapolis rally the anti-immigration part of the crowd with his objections to the mass invasion of America by immigrants who brought disease and took away jobs. They stayed with him as he called for a mass deportation of these invaders.
Most of the MINN-SIR supporters were slow to catch the satire, and so the cheering from that side of the crowd took a while to subside. As they realized they'd been punked, they stood in a cold, stunned silence, while the 30 or so counter-protesters urged Columbus to go home.
Unfortunately, some of the pro-MINN-SIR audience made up for what they lacked in humor through the use of violence. Both Danielson and I saw middle-aged men attack young protesters, knocking one off a bike before he started throwing punches at aggressively shoving the young man. [ Update Nov 17: see second Youtube clip here for this incident end update]
Just as shocking was the reaction of the state police working the rally, who pushed back those being attacked, rather than those attacking the counter protesters.
Neither of us have ever witnessed violence at rallies and events we've attended in the past. The attacks formed a sharp counterpoint to Hendrycks' shrieked claims from the podium that MINN-SIR "patriots" had "respect" while the young protesters were rude.
[Update Nov. 16/17] Video footage here in new Bluestem post, Minn-SIR supporter assaults woman while Ruthie Hendrycks rants about "respect". The first video shows a MINN-SIR supporter poking and elbowing a young woman and pushing those who ask him to stop; the second clip in this post documents an assault on a young protester on a bicyclist.[end update]
More later as I process video and photos; Danielson was also taping the event and will be posting has posted his own footage at I Don't Hate America. (DJ's individual posts here, here, and here; fun stuff--head over a take a look).
More to come.
Twin Cities Indymedia adde more coverage in Anti-Racists Steal the Show at White Supremacist "Tea Party Against Amnesty".
Here's the YouTube:
Photo: MINN-SIR supporters and young pro-immigration reform supporters face off under the watch eye of state law enforcement. Photo by DJ Danielson.