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From David ou Dee <seahorse@odyssee.net>
Date Thu, 21 Dec 2000 13:03:09 -0500 (EST)

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

March 15 2001 marks the fifth year of this international day of protest and
solidarity against police brutality. It first began in 1997 as an
initiative of the Black Flag collective in Switzerland along with the help
of COBP (French acronym for Citizens Opposed to Police Brutality) of
Montreal. Since its first year, the International Day Against Police
Brutality (IDAPB) has been a success. This date was chosen because on March
15th, two children, aged 11 and 12, were beaten by the Swiss police. 

This day of denouncing police brutality is also an opportunity to create
and strengthen ties between groups that work directly or indirectly against
State brutality around the world. It permits the creation an indispensable
international solidarity in the fight against police forces that
collaborate world-wide and are extremely well organized. The IDAPB, which
concretely represents this solidarity, should not be overlooked as an
element in the development and need to denounce police brutality. The day
shatters the myth of unanimity about the virtues of the police (positive
values promoted especially by TV cop shows, Hollywood films and mass
media). It also ends the isolation of groups and individuals who, engaged
in this struggle, are subjected to daily repression. 

The modern State's favoured instrument of repression, the police, is a
fairly recent development in history: In the early 1800s, industrialisation
is in full swing, people are migrating to the cities, becoming urban
workers and swelling the proletarian class. Class conflicts increase when
the bourgeoisie (urban ruling class) and industrial property (capital) live
in close proximity to workers. With the increasing agitation and
organisation of workers, the police is instituted to fight labour and
protect industrial property.

Which "crime" shall be punished or not is left to the  police's discretion;
which laws shall be enforced, where and at what time, and especially who is
forced to respect the law, is decided by the police. In effect, the police,
the right arm of the State, abuses its power on a daily basis and exercises
its violence with near total impunity. The police continuously and
everywhere violate the very laws that they are supposed to uphold. The
police check identity, spy, double-deal, hustle, repress, ticket, despise,
pursue, arrest, imprison, deport, harass and beat-up; they inflict
indignity, they torture and they kill. Their primary targets are the
"undesirables of society," (the dangerous classes):  the poor, the
homeless, people of colour, immigrants and persons with irregular status
("illegal immigrants" and people who work under-the-table), sex workers,
activists, the marginalised, student activists, organised workers, queer,
gender-based and feminist activists and people who question and don't
accept the legitimacy of the authorities.

As well, the last few years have seen the emergence of world-wide movements
against capitalist globalisation. This also has resulted in mass repression
and recurring police violence. Whether it is in Prague, Seattle or
Vancouver, in Seoul or Washington, during several demonstrations, carnivals
and actions, a bewildering and under-reported number of persons were
victims or witnesses of police brutality, abuses, "preventive" arrests
(kidnapping), unlawful imprisonment, inhuman jail conditions, and in
several cases, torture.  
In response to the widening gap between rich and poor, the deepening of
poverty and the general deterioration of living conditions, governments
invest in police forces to do what it takes to maintain order and social
peace. For example, there is the deplorable tendency during demonstrations
of resorting to so-called less-than-lethal weaponry (tested in hardened
regional conflicts like Northern Ireland, Palestine, Indonesia, etc.). In
opposition to the State's drift towards fascism, we have the responsibility
to act and support all victims of State force. We keenly invite you to
participate in the International Day Against Police Brutality (IDAPB). 

Until now, this event has taken place in several forms; street theatre,
murals, publications, demonstrations, conferences, postering, workshops,
exhibitions, radio and television shows, and cultural events. Some groups
have organised more than one activity while others have formed coalitions.
All collectives or individuals decide on what type of action, depending on
the political climate of their country, the energy and willingness of
people to organise an event, the resources available, etc. The key thing is
the imagination and the creativity of the people involved. 


If you can't do something on March 15th, try to do something as close to
the date as possible.
If you can't or don't want to participate, spread this message.
Translations of this text are very much appreciated. 
For questions, commentaries, or to know more about COBP, write us or e-mail
us and visit our web site at: http://www.tao.ca/~cobp/index.html

Mailing address:
c/o The Alternative Bookshop
2035 St-Laurent 2nd floor
Montreal, Quebec
H2X 2T3 

E-mail : cobp@hotmail.com or seahorse@odyssee.net

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