Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Violent, Peace Protest

Connecticut Delegates Assaulted By Protesters At RNC

By MARK PAZNIOKAS | The Hartford Courant
5:34 PM EDT, September 1, 2008


ST. PAUL, MINN. - Anti-war protesters assaulted Connecticut delegates to the Republican National Convention today as they approached the Xcel Energy Center, snatching a credential from an elderly delegate and tossing a diluted solution of bleach at others, including a former congressman, witnesses said.

No serious injuries were reported in the scuffle, though a hazardous materials team checked delegates who were doused with a solution that smelled of bleach. Paramedics examined 83-year-old Fred Biebel, who had trouble breathing. He was cleared and later entered the convention hall.

"We were halfway from the buses to the door, and there was a breach of security," said Rob Simmons, the former congressman from the 2nd District. "We were swarmed by about 60 to 80 of them."

One woman snatched a delegate credential from Biebel's neck, but it was recovered by authorities.

Simmons said he was splashed in the face and on the legs and was treated by a haz-mat team. His lower pant leg was discolored.

Ben Proto, a delegate from Stratford, said the protesters targeted the older and female delegates.

"We tried to provide a shield, some of the bigger guys," Simmons said.

Republican State Chairman Chris Healy, who was bringing his mother into the hall, said he and others pushed back several demonstrators.

"They were looking for delegates," Healy said. "We've been taken to get decontaminated."

Biebel, a delegate at every GOP convention since 1956, said it was not his scariest moment at a convention.

"It compared a little bit, not as bad, to 1968," Biebel said.

In Miami that year, protesters shattered the windows of the delegates' bus with rocks.

"That was scary," he said. .

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