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Occupy for Prisoners

by Rockero Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Monday, February 20, 2012
RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Demonstrators from Occupy Riverside and Occupy San Bernardino Valley joined forces to express their solidarity with people detained at West Valley Detention Center, the main detention facility for the western portion of San Bernardino County.

Occupy for Prisoners...
wv-002.jpg, image/jpeg, 800x600

They stood at the main entrance to the jail on Etiwanda street and carried large banners reading "Free All Class War Prisoners," and blew whistles, banged drums, tooted vuvuzelas with the intention of being heard by the people inside.

Some of their chants:

"One, two, three, four! The jails are only for the poor!"

"Banks got bailed, we got jailed!"

"Money for schools, not for jails!"

"Brick by brick, wall by wall! Free the prisoners! Free them all!"

The call for a day of prisoner solidarity came from Pelican Bay, where prisoners have engaged in hunger strikes to end the practice of confining prisoners to solitary confinement "secure housing units" for alleged violations. Other demands included an end to "debriefing," a process by which prisoners are encouraged to inform on other prisoners.

These concerns were echoed by the participants at the protest. Another concern enumerated was the privatization of prisons, which results in the enrichment of corporations and individuals, such as celebrity game show host Bob Barker, at the expense of the jailed, imprisoned, and detained. One such private detention facility opened recently in the high desert city of Adelanto, and is designed specifically to house people detained on suspected immigration violation. Protesters expressed support for longtime political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as for the thousands of people who have been unjustly brutalized, arrested, detained, charged, and tried since the beginning of the Occupy movement.

As detainees left their confinement, many were curious about the action and expressed appreciation for the show of solidarity. One young man from Barstow told about being held at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center and having been subsequently transferred to West Valley for no apparent reason, with the result being a substantial distance between himself and his support network at home.

Just as the protest was wrapping up, a deputy approached and asked what the protest was about. "We're here because this jail is filled with poor people, while the elites commit much more egregious crimes and yet are walking around free." "I can't argue with that," said the deputy, as he drove off.
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by Rockero Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

wv-001.jpg, image/jpeg, 586x194

Freed detainees join the protest.
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by Rockero Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

wv-003.jpg, image/jpeg, 800x600

Free All Class War Prisoners!
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