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Police Intimidation and Arrests at Peaceful Protest in Long Beach

by Tamara Rettino Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 1:22 AM

frist hand account of protest held in long beach, december 22

December 22, 2001- Long Beach

A group of about forty activists, called together by a high school students from Banning High School in Wilmington, assembled at a park in Long Beach on Saturday.The rally was in support of peaceful solutions to the bombing in Afghanistan, and an end to violence. The event included singing of songs, information tables, and free exchange of ideas. Shawn McDougal, of the American Friends Service Committee, gave a rousing speech and dispersed stickers with thought provoking slogans such as " Don’t Ask Questions.Just Follow Orders. The American Way?" and "No Money for Schools. No Money for Health Care. But Money for Bombs? Stop the Corporate War Machine." It was then announced that we would descend upon the local shopping plaza to hand out the stickers and leaflets, engage people in positive discussions, and give those concerned concrete actions to take.

We marched into the plaza, led by the beat of the drum, and began to speak to shoppers going into corporate bastions like Borders, CompUSA, and Sears. Some shoppers spit and yelled, but the response was generally very positive. I had finished my leafleting and went over to the other side of the plaza, just in time to see attorney Jim DeMaegt getting arrested. A Sears customer signed a complaint, and Sears had ordered those peacefully handing out literature off the sidewalk next to their building. " I believe we have a constitutional right to freedom of speech in an area that’s open to the public. I don’t believe that right should be abrogated because of the events of 9-11," DeMaegt stated. A cameraman recording Jim’s arrest was asked to leave the area. As he was explaining that he had a press pass, he was cuffed and his headphones and camera were torn from him and placed roughly on the ground. I was closest to the scene and dove in to rescue his camera. The police began shouting at me. "I’m protecting his camera and his images!" I insisted, concerned about the possible disappearance of his footage at the police station. "Back up! He’s in our custody, it’s his property!" They barked. At which point the cameraman looked at me and said, " I’m giving you my camera. I want her to take the camera." So, I reached for it, and perhaps four cops placed their hands on me. One shoved my wrist hard into the ground. They drug both camera and man towards the police car.

The demonstrators and a dozen shoppers circled the car, some shouting, "This is what democracy looks like!" Police threatened arrest, and pushed some youth back with a baton. We reconvened at the park, now accompanied by a grand escort of police with their own recording equipment, multiple vehicles, and even a helicopter. It must have been disappointing to the fleet of officers to see us standing in an orderly circle discussing our actions and experiences. Eventually the intimidation squad left, and we headed for the police station to give support to those arrested. At the station, attorney Jim DeMaegt was released, but the cameraman was held on ,000 bail and charged with possession of a controlled substance (a Valium, which he had a prescription for.) His wife and daughter arrived to bail him out; His camera and tape have not been released to him.

Post DNC, post 9-11 the number of people willing to stand up and say NO has dwindled. The police, who should be protecting our rights, continue their tactics of terror and intimidation. George Bush says that in order to protect America we need to get out and shop. If we really want to be patriotic, we must stop shopping and start exercising our constitutional rights to protest, free assembly, and free speech.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 20 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
NO more arguments for Non Violence A-Day Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 2:45 AM
CHeck out the GAP 19 story Rych Withers Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 7:47 AM
the problem lbcitizen Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 7:56 AM
Uhh... freenergy Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 9:11 AM
No peace between classes!! Uprise Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 9:43 AM
Read Viktor Frankl's... freenergy Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 12:00 PM
FUCK THE POLICE rtf Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 12:35 PM
There is no peace Rampage Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2001 at 1:40 AM
Violence not peace plays into the cops' hands spaz Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2001 at 12:29 PM
Nonviolent noncooperation will bring peace Tom Saturday, Dec. 29, 2001 at 7:00 PM
AGREE The Camera Guy Saturday, Dec. 29, 2001 at 9:28 PM
What will it take? A-Day Sunday, Dec. 30, 2001 at 8:41 PM
Pacifism vs. Defense Phuc Hed Sunday, Dec. 30, 2001 at 11:50 PM
Wage Slave Emancipation spaz Monday, Dec. 31, 2001 at 12:59 AM
Lawsuit for violation of civil rights Jim DeMaegt Monday, Dec. 31, 2001 at 7:55 PM
Out of Jail and Final Video Is Online now Matthew Wednesday, Jan. 02, 2002 at 3:14 AM
Right Action is Not Wrong Spaz Wednesday, Jan. 02, 2002 at 9:52 AM
George Washington Emma Friday, Jan. 04, 2002 at 4:21 AM
Multinational Corporate GREED! pris Monday, Jan. 07, 2002 at 9:28 PM
dont give up $$$ Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002 at 12:16 AM

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