September 8, 2008

RNC – Day 4

Filed under: Personal,Photography,RNC — alexboerner @ 1:10 am

We wandered to the State Capitol building at around 3:30 pm and within 15 minutes the police swarmed in on bikes and horses and arrested a couple of young looking kids who were just sitting there on the lawn. The police wouldn’t answer as to why they were being arrested. It was just a show of force to let people know that they were ready to go on the final day, a day that had been predicted to have the largest show of violence of the week.

That event kicked off a march. The permit had expired by this time, but it didn’t stop people from marching. It was cut off by the police at every bridge leading downtown. They had to keep delegates and protesters separated, and they did. There were about three standoffs which, despite a few pepper-spray instances, broke down without a large incident.

We broke off to head to the convention when we saw that the group began marching again and was coming toward us. We asked if we could be let through the police line to head downtown and were laughed at by a smug officer who reveled in his ability to make us walk an extra 3/4 mile to get around the police line. Then, while walking off, I believe we intentionally got REALLY bad directions (which we thankfully chose to ignore) from another officer. Whatever. Some of the police had a good nature despite the situation, and some didn’t.

That smug officer actually did me a favor though. At Sunset, while walking all the way around the world to get to the Excel Energy Center to catch McCain’s speech I ran into Mark Jensen, an old friend and mentor who I hadn’t seen since a few years after college. He is an insightful documentary photographer who got me hooked on photography while teaching me how to print b&w photos for the Instructional Support Services department at the University of St. Thomas. He was there with his wife Abbey. We were talking about the scene around town this week when, from about a half-mile away, we began to hear the firing of the smoke grenades and tear gas canisters.

We said goodbye and I told them I was going to go check out the Marion bridge. Police had the each entrance of the bridge blocked. The south entrance was barricaded with two snowplows and a couple other vehicles. On the north side of the bridge stood a thick line of police officers. Sitting down in between, on the bridge, were the 290 people being arrested one-by-one, while further to the north people could be seen moving around in a well-lit parking lot.

Police kept onlookers at a pretty good distance, and without a long lens, it was difficult to see anything. It was getting late and McCain’s speech was starting soon, so I went to the Excel Energy Center.

I got in and made a couple of laps around the 100 level. I couldn’t get on to the floor so I was stuck in the cheap seats, which was just fine. I was able to make a couple of pictures from the hallway around the convention and after the balloons dropped I headed down to the floor where there were all kinds of TV interviews happening and balloons popping, and people tearing down and cleaning up. I met a couple very nice people down there and had fun hanging out on the stage.

The night ended at The Smiling Gnome where we discoverd the wonders of Cliff Richard and watched a so-bad-its-good Billy Squire video. The bar was open until 4 am and had food and wireless access. We were there until about 3:45 when my sister-in-law took me to the airport for a 6 am flight. Plane..sleep…over.


  1. Great shots Alex! Really makes me wonder what the hell is happening to this country……

    Comment by Ginny — September 26, 2008 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

  2. test

    Comment by alexboerner — October 21, 2008 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

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