Well, the RNC Convention 2008 has begun, but only the basic duties were carried out today. Due to hurricane Gustav coming ashore in Louisiana, all of the speakers were canceled. I made it to the convention area late in the afternoon as bus after bus after bus made it's way into the parking areas around the Xcel Energy Center. By this time, the main anti-war protest had just completed. There was a 'peace' march from the Capital, to the Xcel, around downtown and back to the Capital building. As this was the largest of the protests, they had anticipated 50,000 people to attend. I've read reports of 2,000 to 5,000 protesters showed up for the rally. Not much of a rally I guess.
What I found interested was the dress of the typical protester. Dressed in black was the typical color of choice and wearing a backpack. Some had bandanna's covering their face....why did they not want to be identified if they have strong belief's in their cause? Some of the protesters did have their cause printed in their t-shirts, which was rather smart. I know there are rules to carrying a sign with a stick attached. The stick could only be so large or it could be considered a weapon. But if you're hands were free from carrying a sign and your bandanna started to fall, your free hands could easily pull it back in place.
The strangest part of my walk around the area was when I was on my way home for the evening. I was walking towards the Minnesota Historical Society building when I well groomed man approached me wearing a blue polo shirt. He asked me this question "Sir, I'm from out of town, do you know where a good place to get some coffee is around here?" Whoa! Time out! What? It's 90 degrees outside, I'm sweating my ass off walking around and a well groomed man asks me where I can get a cup of coffee! The first thing that came to mind was: Is that code for something? Is this a Larry Craig episode unfolding? Is this guy an undercover officer looking to nab someone? Is this an undercover news reporter trying to relive the Larry Craig episode? They guy wasn't trying to tap my foot or anything, but I told him to try downtown and got the hell out of there. The first police officer I found, I pointed the guy out to him and told him what had just happened and said the guy seams out of place for what is going on around here.
One thing I noticed while looking at this batch of photos. If you look closely at the photos, you can see officers standing on the roof of the Xcel Energy Center. I hadn't noticed them while taking the photos.