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Protesters Making Plans In Minn. For RNC '08

ST. PAUL (WCCO) ― It may seem like a long way off, but already protesters are coming together to figure out their plans for the Republican Convention.

This weekend, activists from all over the country met at the University of Minnesota to plan an anti-war rally and march set for September 1st, the first day of the Convention. They expect 50,000 people to attend.

More than 100 people from all different causes – immigrant rights, welfare rights and peace organizations – came together under one banner. They all want to end the war in Iraq.

"Coming together today in a powerful day, we feel our strength. It's reinvigorating, re-energizing and it gives people the extra push they need to go back home," said Leslie Cagan, a long-time activist from the East Coast who helped organize the Republican protests in 2004.

The conference included sessions on "why we are marching" and smaller-group sessions for people interested other issues. Many of the organizers have years of experience planning demonstrations of tens of thousands of people.

Kosta Harlan, with the Students for Democratic Society, came to St. Paul from Chapel Hill, NC. He expects tens of thousands of students from across the country to bus to St. Paul to attend.

"After the semester is over, we need to start organizing in the summer and come up to Minneapolis/St. Paul and bring the protests to the doorsteps of the party that brought us this war," he said.

Organizers expect this march to be peaceful. They'll have speeches, rallies at the beginning and end of the march and a security plan. For months, they've been asking the city of St. Paul for a permit to plan to route. St. Paul city officials say they won't look at the applications until May, but expect they'll be approved.


(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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