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(en) US, Police Harass Ceres Food Not Bombs (DAAA)* as they Protest Police Abuse

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 10 Oct 2004 09:57:18 +0200 (CEST)

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Police Harass Homeless Activists and Youth in Parks By: crudocrust
Soon after the formation of Ceres Food Not Bombs, part of the DAAA
Collective, collective members decided that the parks in Ceres needed to
be reclaimed from police that have continually harassed homeless and
poor people in Whitmore park where Ceres FNB feeds. Ceres Food Not
Bombs made the decision to have a Reclaim the Parks demonstration
after hearing stories from local park goers about harassment from the
police, and being kicked out of public parks after just hanging out in the
park for a little over an hour. After putting out a flyer to local homeless
people two weeks ago, Ceres FNB hoped for a large collection of
homeless people to protest against police abuse this Saturday.

I arrived in Ceres at about 1pm. The large mass of homeless people did
not materialize, (possibly scared by heavily police presence), but I did see
about 10 or so young Food Not Bombs, and street kids. Upon getting to
the table where the food was being handed out, I turned around to see a
large man walking towards me. He had on a Ceres Sheriffs Defective
shirt, and approached me. Are you, “My-Name”? He asked me.
Taken aback by a police officer from another town knowing my name, I
looked calming at him, and said yes. “You’re the organizer,
right?”, he asked. I said that I wasn’t the organizer, but that I was
here to help out the Ceres group and what they were doing. “But you
made the flyer right?”, he asked me. He then stated another name of
another collective member, and asked if that person was there at the park.
I told him that I didn’t make the flyer. I then turned to my left, and
another cop from another car across the park approached me. This police
officer had on semi-riot gear, with full outside bulletproof vests,
equipment, and the whole deal. “Is this “My-Name”?”, he
asked the other cop, who replied, “Yeah”. I just laughed. I asked
them how they knew who I was, to which the larger one replied that,
“Cops know everything”, and that the flyer had gotten around the
school and local community. Although the police may have gotten some
info from a flyer that they might have gotten a hold off, or seen pasted up
somewhere, they probably were alerted to the event via the DAAA
Collective website, which we know is under FBI and local police watch,
at least since the scare over an eco-terrorist threat on the June 12th day of
solidarity with Jeff “Free” Luers.

The police officer then talked to us, and discussed how he hoped that the
event today would go peacefully and without incident. He then asked if
we were going to march, and told us that we had better stay on the
sidewalks and not march in the street. At this point the one cop with
heavy gear had left, and returned to his car, and now watched us from
across the street. The larger cop went back to us own car, and then
proceeded to take lots of pictures of us, and videotape. After talking to one
of the kids that was already there, I learned that at 10am, they had been
approached in the park, and were asked if “My-Name” was in the
park or coming. The police then proceeded to take pictures of us for a
short amount of time. Several of us then left to get a soccer ball, and a
camera to take pictures of the police. When we came back, we took
pictures of the police in a parking lot across of us with a K-9 unit
watching us.

After making signs and talking about what to do, two police officers came
up to the group of mostly young people, and asked them what was going
on. They looked at the sings that people had made, and were angry at the
signs many of the people had created. Many of the signs said things like,
“Keep the Pigs Out of Parks”, “Pigs out, Homeless In”,
etc. First the cops asked why we were out in the park in the first place.
We explained about how we were out their in response to the continued
police harassment of homeless, and also activists that chose to stand up
to them. The police then argued over our use of the term “pig”.
We basically explained that it was against the abusive police that were
harassing people. They then asked us what our solution to the homeless
problem was, and we explained that the city should easily be able to keep
open shelters, either from vacant buildings our otherwise, for homeless
people so they have places to go. This would stop people from having to
sleep in the parks, and thus coming in contact with the police. We cited
the recent success of the emergency shelter, kept open all by volunteers
and donations, and was run out of an abandoned building, and the fact
that 50% of people using it had jobs. After some more exchange, the two
officers left, and around this time a large police SUV car drove through
the park.

After the friendly visit, we decided that it was time to take off from the
park. Only about 12 strong, but with lots of energy, we headed out of the
park. Staying mostly on the sidewalk, we marched to the police
headquarters (only a block away!), and chanted, “Who’s Park?
Our Park!”, “Shelters, not Prisons! Food Not Bombs”. We
stayed in front of the police station for a couple minutes, until we moved
to a more high traffic street. We then marched around the neighborhood
to largely supportive honks and passersby. The large Ceres Sheriff, who
stopped often to shoot video of us as we marched on the sidewalk in his
car, then followed us.

We returned to the park without much incident, although the police
continued to drive by us, take video, and follow us. We made sure each
person had a way to get home without putting themselves in harms way,
and called it a day. Many of the youth there were energized at the days
events, and had a very positive outlook on the days action. All were very
angry about the actions of the police and authorities over the presence of
non-violent homeless activists.

For me the day only resolved my feelings about homeless issues, and the
continued harassment of anarchists and anti-authoritarian activists by
FBI, police, and law enforcement is going to affect us as a movement.
They’re watching, are you prepared?

Copied from infoshop.org
* DAAA = Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians (DAAA)

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