Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Paramilitary policing and police brutality from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

November 20, 2011
A man sits in front of a police line at City Hall during an anti-Wall Street protest in Oakland, California, 25 October 2011. (REUTERS/Kim White)

A man sits in front of a police line at City Hall during an anti-Wall Street protest in Oakland, California, 25 October 2011. (REUTERS/Kim White)

Warning: Some may find the scenes of police brutality disturbing!

Today (Saturday) security thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square, many were injured, at least one killed. The tear gas used in Tahrir Square has Made in US stamped on it. Supply of security and torture equipment is big business.

But are they not getting a green light for this brutality from the US, a nod and a wink, watch what we do and follow our example?

Earlier in the week we saw the brutal police crack down on Occupy Wall Street, press were cleared from the area, news helicopters blocked from flying overhead, local residents locked in their apartments. The camp was trashed, books and and laptops trashed or stolen.

NYPD police brutality against Occupy Wall Street
Only Nazis destroy books

A couple of weeks before we saw the brutal crackdown in Portland. The irony is that Tahrir Square marched to the US Embassy to protest violence against peaceful protesters in the US.

The worse though has been the pepper-spraying of protesters. Not the use by police in self-defence when overwhelmed by an angry mob, but the police setting upon demonstrators, then pepper-spraying them,

In Seattle a 84-year old woman was pepper-sprayed in the face. She has still not recovered.

84-Year-Old Dorli Rainey, Pepper-Sprayed at Occupy Seattle, Denounces “Worsening” Police Crackdowns

I recall the Seattle WTO protests and the brutal police crackdown, out of which grew the global Indymedia network and the anti-globalisation network. Talking with a Bolivian activist some time later, she said she showed in Bolivia film footage of people being tear-gased on the street in Seattle. The locals in Bolivia had their eyes opened. They were used to violent supression of protest, but this was in the West.

84-Year-Old Dorli Rainey, pepper-sprayed at Occupy Seattle, was there during the Battle of Seattle a decade ago. She says the police brutality is now far worse.

Norm Stamper, the former police chief of Seattle, admits he was wrong then and as a retired chief of police is highly critical of police tactics and what he terms paramilitary policing.

Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street
Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism

Remember Kent State and the killing of students in the 1960s? Has anything changed?

On UC Davis university campus the police were invited on campus by the chancellor. Students were held and pepper-sprayed into their eyes and down their throats.

Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

What happened next?

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Peaceful students and faculty members attacked on their own campus at the behest of the chancellor. The chancellor should at least have the decency to resign.

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
Police Pepper Spraying UC Davis Students

Homeland Security was not formed to combat terrorism but to repress and brutalise US citizens!

Is this the democracy the houseboy in the White House is exporting to the world?

From Berlin and Prague through Seattle to Copenhagen

November 17, 2009

If Berlin and Prague saw the birth of democracy and Seattle its coming-out party, then Copenhagen will see its coming of age.

1989 was a year of momentous change, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Velvet Revolution. Across Europe, country after country sought freedom and sovereignty. With the exception of Romania, the changes were peaceful, not a shot was fired, though the aftermath was not so pleasant with the violent implosion of Yugoslavia. It was not the politicians that forced these changes, change never does come from those in power, it was the people on the streets.

Ten years on the people took to the streets again, this time Seattle and the WTO was shut down. Talking to a friend from Bolivia who had shown footage back home in Bolivia of what was happening in Seattle, she said the Bolivians were amazed. Beating of protesters was the norm in the Third World, but in the rich Capitalist West?

As we commemorate twenty years on from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the people are converging on Copenhagen for the COP15 climate talks. The demands are simple, the solutions many. We have to cut our carbon emissions. It can no longer be business as usual. Whilst the corrupt politicians fiddle, the planet burns. The message to Copenhagen is simple, it is the people who will decide the agenda, not the politicians. World leaders had better sit up and listen.

Also see

The day the wall came down

The Shape of the Table

Prague marks Velvet Revolution

The theatre behind the Velvet Revolution

Berlin and Prague through Seattle to Copenhagen

Climate rage

Copenhagen: Seattle Grows Up