Still a Bit Shaken, but Safe - The Life and Thoughts of Zach
Nov. 23rd, 2003
07:21 pm - Still a Bit Shaken, but Safe
I'm online briefly from the Atlanta IMC temporary space set up for the SOA protest in Columbus, GA.
I just wanted to pop in and let everyone who has been following the news from Miami know that I and everyone who traveled to Miami with me are ok.
The police were FUCKING INSANE (actually they were methodically oppressive, an unstoppable dispassionate militarized tight knit force, not chaotic at all, just inhumanly brutal). The protest was a blood bath. The cops used concussion grenades, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, bean bag bullets, pepper balls (hard plastic balls filled with some kind of stinging powder), tazers (!), and swinging batons. I saw people with broken noses. I saw a person with a pepper ball embedded under his skin near his temple (!), I saw hundreds of people burned and bleeding. I saw a lot of really scary stuff first hand.
Hundreds of people were arrested for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The folks that I talked to who were arrested had horrific stories to tell about torture, sexual assault, and viscious beatings (all by the cops) in jail.
I am very lucky to have gotten out uninjured and unarrested. Our affinity group was very tight knit. We took care of each other, kept track of each other, and scouted out the situation in order to stay out of danger. I'm so grateful for the folks who helped us prepare for the trip, the home support folks who kept on top of things for us and provided us with invaluable information, and the folks on the ground who were amazing. The street medics (many of them actual EMTs) who took care of the hundreds of wounded protestors deserve a particular shout out.
I am so glad that I came to this protest. I witnessed the creation of the most amazing community. Thousands of people, without leadership, making decisions together, feeding each other, caring for each other, and creating joy in a warzone. I have so much to say about this but I have to say it later. It is going to take me all week to get it all written out, to sort through all the photos and videos and audio that I and others gathered, and to wrap my head around everything that happened.
I would be particularly pleased if folks concerned about the unprecedented level of police brutality at this protest to participate in Monday's call-in action and/or consider a donation to help bail people out of jail, pay legal expenses, and get jailed people rides back home when they get out.