Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cops gone wild

During the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999, police in the US began again to use tear gas & violence on protestors. Extreme violence was used against civil rights protestors & in the early days of the antiwar movement but had ceased during most of the anti-Vietnam War movement & at most protests up to the WTO in 1999. As we saw during the Occupy protests, police now use violence without restraint. And that has been true of cops around the world--whether against the Arab uprisings or against striking workers. Every protest is treated as a riot & police come in force, arrayed in battle gear. Here two women treat a child who was among 30 students pepper sprayed (April 3rd) by a cop at Santa Monica College in California. Students were protesting higher course fees at an open SMC trustee board meeting. There was an overflow crowd which cops say “tried to storm” the meeting. One student claims a cop fired pepper spray into the faces of people standing arm’s length away. Standing, not storming! The child was in that crowd. Activists around the world need to gather in massive numbers to defend our rights to assembly & free speech & to demand the cops stop the use of tear gas, truncheons, rubber bullets, water hoses, & other assault weapons. The right to protest is a fundamental human right now under siege & the only way to defend it is to massively "storm" those who would deny it. (Photo by Michael Yanow / Getty Images)

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