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(en) Don't Let Them Criminalize Protest!

From Mark Laskey <kronstadt@juno.com>
Date Thu, 17 Aug 2000 17:34:13 -0400

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

[The author of the Statment below is accused with Three counts of assault on a police officer, and eight lesser charges.]


Basically the commissioner is making a symbol of me.

If the DA and the Philly PA get a conviction (potentialy 20-40 years, by 
their account) they would say they have evidence to smear the whole 
movement.  My trial is an attempt to put the growing movement on trial.

Unfortunately there has been some divisiveness among acivivsts, some 
protesters have fallen into the trap of the police of assuming guilt and 
distancing themselves from alleged felons.  Some protesters seem to be ok

with the DA wanting blood for accused felonies forgetting that the blood 
will certainly splatter the face of all of the protestors.
I have had trouble getting legal representation. Most lawyers are rushing

to cases with only misdemeanor ächarges and obvious civil rights suits.  
Other lawyers are taking on easier cases probono but asking to get paid 
for mine.

The night I was arrested I was taken into an interrogation room for 13 
hours.  While I was in that room over 5 different detectives would come
and interrogate me.  On three occasions a detective would open the door 
and literally say “show and tell”, then I heard the officer that saw me
display, being coached by a detective on what to say and charge,  fitting

my physical appearance into scenarios they were making up on the spot.

It is clear that since my arrest there have been many full time law 
enforcement offices orchestrating the case against me.

The commissioner claims to have been on route toward Rittenhouse Sqaure
“protect his home”, when he and his bike police entourage went to the 
intersection where I was arrested.  Rittenhouse Square is an elite park 
where George Bush senior was staying and where Clinton stays when he’s in


The mixture of the commissioner’s portrayal of protecting this affluent 
section of town added to his “celebrated” celebrity status creates a 
dangerous and potent situation for me.

The only way to stop these attempts to criminlize me and protests in 
general is to out organize the forces of the state and capital who want
cheer me into prison.

We need donations for legal costs (explicitly for alleged felonies) These

funds are desperately needed.

Also open letters to the mayor of Philly on my behalf would be useful.  
Write about how this trail is an attempt to distract people from the 
issues of the demonstrators.  Character witness letters from any one who 
has ever met or worked with me are also useful.  These can be mailed to
so we can copy them and send them to city councilors etc.

Send letters to the mayor at: (Please send us copies as well)
Mayor John Street
City Hall, Room 215
Philadelphia, Pa 19107
Fax 215-686-2180

Legal Fee donations for Camilo can be sent to:
Miriam Budnick, 4819 Springfield Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa 19143

Don’t let them criminalze Protest!


Camilo Viveiros Jr. is a social justice activist who resides in New
has been singled out and villianized by the most powerful law enforcement

official in Philly, police commissioner Timoney.  The Philly Commissioner

of police testified against Camilo Viveiros at his pretrial on August

Camilo went to the Institute for Social Ecology for two summers and has 
made visits back to this area to keep in touch with other activists.

He has worked with Vermont activists in the mid 90’s going up to Cananda 
to stop the creation of a Hydro Quebec dam on Innu land.  He particpated 
in a non-violent blockade and was arrested with Vermonters defending the 
soverenty of the Innu people from ecological genocide.

Through the years Camille has co-founded a variety of grassroots social 
justice groups ranging from Empty the Shelters in Oakland to Homes not 
Jails in Boston to community coalitions to stop incinerators, stop the 
construction of an outfall pipe on indigenous land , end the use of 
chaingangs etc. etc.

The Commissioners attempt to put Camille behind bars is a clear attack on

the continually growing momentum of large direct action demonstrations.  

Camille has been committed to the use of civil disobedience for years.  
Putting an end to the movement means that our opposition will want to 
scare people off by marginalizing people like Camilo.

Camille has always believed that the power of the people lay in
activists successfully building the support of ordinary people.

This situation is no different.  He recognizes that the City of Philly
sent a clear message to the core of long time activists who came to 
Philly.  What needs to be done now is to broaden our support.  Any 
community organization that looks into it’s history, has to acknowledge 
that there was a time when authorities attempted to marginalize and
criminalize their activities:  religious freedom, women’s ability to
the emancipation of people of color from slavery, labors’ protection of 
working people, “disabled” peoples’ access to public buildings  etc. All 
thoe movements have gone through times when their activists where painted

as villains and violent trouble makers.

We need to reach out to community members and remind them of the past and

invite their contemporary solidarity.

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