RATM’s Unconventional Week

More than 100 concertgoers and others were arrested late September 3 and into the next morning outside the Target Center in Minneapolis, where Rage Against The Machine played its scheduled, ticketed gig coinciding with the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

Police Capt. Amelia Huffman told the Star Tribune newspaper that the mass arrest was an “uneventful event,” with all but two of the 102 arrested being cited and released at the Hennepin County Jail. “I know of no significant force that was used at all,” she told the paper.

Police Chief Tom Dolan told a daily RNC news briefing that the RATM concert had the makings of “a perfect storm,” with 13,000 fans leaving the Target Center into downtown Minneapolis at about 10:40 p.m..

At the same time, downtown was jammed with convention delegates and others, including protestors and a phalanx of police, some on horseback.

RATM frontman Zach de la Rocha acknowledged the crowds and riot police outside as the band wrapped up its show.

“When we leave here, let’s prove to [police] we’ve got more discipline than they do,” de la Rocha exhorted the crowd, according to the Star Tribune.

Some tense standoffs were reported as the crowd left the arena and poured into the streets. By midnight, clusters of people clogged nearby streets and police warned that a chemical irritant might be used if the streets weren’t cleared.

Scuffles reportedly followed, and by 12:30 a.m., 102 people were arrested – all but two for misdemeanor unlawful assembly.

“They wanted to be arrested,” Dolan told the paper. “[They] just sat down in the street.”

The Target Center show was RATM’s second appearance in the Twin Cities in as many days, as the agit-rockers continued their tour of political conventions with an unscheduled stop outside the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul September 2.

There, police pulled the plug on the band as it prepared to play a free show for RNC protestors, saying the band did not have a permit and arrived too close to a 7 p.m. curfew.

When police cut the power to the stage at 6:45 p.m., de la Rocha and RATM’s Tom Morello led the assembled crowd in a cappella renditions, aided with a megaphone, of “Bulls on Parade” and “Killing In The Name Of.”

After the sing-along, the band led about 2,000 protesters on a march to the Xcel Energy Center, where a subdued Republican National Convention was taking place.

The band peeled away from the march before reaching the arena, where the remaining marchers were reportedly tear-gassed by riot police.

RATM also made an appearance at the Democratic National Convention a week earlier, headlining a free concert at the Denver Coliseum that drew some 9,000 without incident.