Minnesota is known for its friendly hospitality, so much so that the phrase “Minnesota nice” is often used.

Apparently though when a bunch of Republicans enter the state for their convention, Minnesota-nice gets tossed into the Mississippi River.

When 10,000 peaceful protestors took to the streets to exercise their First Amendment rights, police prepared for a riot. And that’s what ensued after the march when some 50 people were arrested for allegedly smashing windows and violating the convention security zone. Police used tear gas and pepper spray.

Some 400 arrests happened over the four-day, far-right fete. Among those arrested were journalists trying to do their jobs. The FBI, known for its infiltration and spying on peace groups, conducted “preemptive arrests” of video makers planning to use their talent to work on behalf of civil liberties and freedom of speech.

While the crushing of the First Amendment was going on outside the convention hall, on the inside Republicans were busy laying their plans to further erode our human, civil and economic rights by nominating John McCain and Sarah Palin. Not only was the convention a further enshrining of raw reactionary and pro-corporate policies, it was a guarantee that McCain/Palin will continue in the jack-booted footsteps of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

All those who feel the righteous outrage at the senseless police violence evident at the Republican convention in the Twin Cities should channel that anger into the hard work it will take to give the boot to the ultra-right on Election Day, Nov. 4.