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Terrorism charges lodged against protesters at GOP convention

September 3, 2008 |  3:43 pm

Prosecutors in Ramsey County, Minn., have formally charged eight alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee -- one of the groups organizing protests at the GOP convention in St. Paul -- with terrorism-related charges, The Times' P.J. Huffstutter reports.

Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty they could face.

It appears to be the first time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act.

The RNC Welcoming Committee is a self-described anarchist group that has worked for months planning disruptions at the convention. Police blamed the group for sparking violence during Monday's antiwar protest in St. Paul. Although most of the estimated 10,000 people at the march were peaceful, police say a splinter group of about 200 people harassed delegates, smashed windows and started at least one fire.

Police have arrested nearly 300 people during the confrontations this week, according to the Associated Press.  Huffstutter reported on the protests for the blog Tuesday. And this morning, we told the story of journalist Amy Goodman's arrest at Monday's march.

-- Kate Linthicum

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