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Marchers, police face off near RNC

Activists protest in the streets outside the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 4, 2008. The GOP nominated U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, as the Republican choice for U.S. President this evening. (UPI Photo/Patrick D. McDermott)
Activists protest in the streets outside the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 4, 2008. The GOP nominated U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, as the Republican choice for U.S. President this evening. (UPI Photo/Patrick D. McDermott) | License Photo

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Protest marchers and police engaged in a standoff Thursday near downtown St. Paul, Minn., site of the Republican National Convention, officials said.

A group of 200 anti-war protesters confronted police at a bridge between the state Capitol and downtown St. Paul and officers in riot gear were called to the scene, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

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At least three people were arrested in two separate incidents, officials said.

Groups of protesters gathered downtown without valid permits, police officials said.

"There were groups of permits, but all those permits have either expired or been revoked," Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer of the Joint Information Center told the Pioneer Press. "Once a permit expires or is revoked, they've got to leave the area."

Police said permits expired at 5 p.m., but Meredith Ady with the Anti-War committee, said her group had a permit for the rally at the Capitol until 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, eight police officers in riot gear gathered outside St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's office as lawyers for demonstrators and detainees tried to meet with the mayor, who was elsewhere.

Coleman spokesman Bob Hume said he escorted the group from the building and the group left peacefully.

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