Police revoke RNC permit for Welfare Rights group

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 12, 2008 - 10:00 PM

An organization representing people on public assistance said Tuesday that the St. Paul police have revoked the group's permit to gather at a plaza near the Xcel Energy Center on the first day of the Republican National Convention.

Police spokesman Tom Walsh confirmed that police revoked the permit of the Welfare Rights Committee to assemble at Hamm Plaza at St. Peter and W. 6th Streets in downtown St. Paul.

Deb Konechne, a member of the committee, said the group applied for a permit in March and received it in June, but got a letter Friday revoking it.

She said the group reserved the plaza as a gathering place for low-income families with small children and people "with mobility issues."

She said her group had planned to gather on the plaza, then join a poor people's contingent in the war protest.

Walsh said that Hamm Plaza is too small for the number of people who might want to gather there and that the permit was granted before police knew about other activities taking place around Xcel.

He said it was also not known when the permit was granted that President Bush would be speaking at Xcel the night of Sept. 1.

Brad Meyer, a St. Paul parks spokesman, said police notified parks officials that it was revoking the permit for security reasons.

He said the city was offering the protest group alternate locations of Mears Park, Ecolab Plaza and John Ireland Triangle Park.

Konechne said her group might sue the city over it.

RANDY FURST

Staff researcher Roberta Hovde contributed to this article.

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