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(en) US, Reportback on Philly ARA Protest Againt Anti-Choicers

Date Wed, 05 Apr 2006 14:32:20 +0300


"Yes to Choice, No to Hate, We All Say Abort the State!"
On Saturday April 1st, this chant, along with many others, could be
heard echoing through the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Select in
Claymont, DE as members of Anti-Racist Action and other
pro-choice activists gathered outside the hotel's front entrance to
protest against the Delaware Pro-Life Coaltion's annual conference
which was being held inside the hotel.
On their website, the Pro-Life Coalition talks a good game about
being a vehicle for educational efforts, but their mission is much
more sinister than that. Through their politics and rhetoric, they
have committed themselves to a fascist campaign of gaining full
control of women's bodies, choices, and lives. As an associate of the
American Life League, the Delaware Pro-Life Coalition has
acknowledged that it embraces any tactics that will help them reach
their goal of ending all forms of abortion, without any exceptions
made for the health and life of the mother or rape or incest.
According to the People for the American Way, the American Life
League helped to make the use of aggressive and disruptive tactics
targeted at reproductive health clinics and providers commonplace.
These tactics include clinic blockades and the systematic
harassment and intimidation of patients, clinics and doctors, as well
as the practice of "sidewalk counseling."

These are not just people content to stay at home and pray for the
well-being of fetuses; instead, they actively engage in disrupting
women's health centers and harrasing the patients and employees of
such centers.

At noon, approximately twenty pro-choice activists arrived at the
hotel and were immediately surrounded by local and state police.
The police officers immediately demanded to know what group we
were from, continually asking if the activists were members of "the
ARA" and where people had heard about the demonstration.
Everyone had their IDs taken and information ran through the police
database. In addition to this harrasment for just exercising their right
to free speech, all participants had their pictures taken by an officer
with a digital camera. When asked why taking IDs wasn't enough,
the officer responded by saying "Oh, these are for someone else,"
leading the activists to assume she meant federal authorities. There
was also a plainclothes officer videotaping the demonstration. While
the activists acknowledged feeling the police response was overboard
and unnecessary, considering the number of people participating in
the demonstration and their full cooperation with police requests,
they were not intimidated by the continual attempts at harrasment
and intimidation and followed through with their plans for a
demonstration against the conference.

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Fetuses Are Not Alive, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Women Won't Be
Slaves Again!"

Other pro-choice groups and individuals joined the ARA members
for a two hour rally outside the main entrance to the Holiday Inn.
Holding signs and banners that read "Pro-Choice, Anti-Fascist,"
"Anti-Choice is Anti-American," and "Choice is the American
Dream," activists maintained a very loud and visible presence
outside of the hotel. The location of the demonstration enabled the
message to be both seen and heard by all of the guests of the hotel -
both those attending the conference and those there for other
reasons. It was also obvious that the rally could be heard inside the
hotel, as several curious hotel patrons came outside to find out what
was going on. The pro-choice activists were cheered on by many
guests and, except for two conference attendees, were generally
avoided by those attending the anti-choice conference - walking
completely around the rally as to not interact with it and having the
police escort them to and from their cars. The two exceptions were a
middle-aged male participant who came and photographed the rally
and an older woman who just walked by saying "Life, life, life." In
both instances, the demonstration just got louder in response to the
conference attendees, continuing to chant "Keep Your Rosaries Off
My Ovaries!" and "1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Fetuses Are Not Alive, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Women Won't Be Slaves Again!"

Before the demonstration began, one person was able to go into the
hotel and take some of the group's literature and conference booklet
before being noticed by conference organizers. This person
immediately exited the hotel and joined the group preparing for the
demonstration. Through the literature that was taken, activists were
able to learn more about the Delaware Pro-Life Coalition and their
fascist authoritatian politics, as well as upcoming anti-choice events.
The members of Anti-Racist Action plan to continue targeting this
anti-choice group for their right-wing politics, vowing to continue
their campaign until this group stops organizing and until the threats
to reproductive choice and sexual freedom nationwide no longer
exist.

With a sizeable number of conference attendees coming outside
during their lunch break, the anti-choicers were serenaded for
several minutes by the pro-choice demonstration as they packed up
to leave: "Jesus should have been aborted, Mary wanted a career.
Abortion is a women's right, so we won't give up the fight, until you
Christian fascists GO AWAY!"

For information on Anti-Racist Action or upcoming events, please
email philly_ara@yahoo.com
===============================
* [Ed. Note: ARA is an antiauthoritarian anticapitalist
social struggle direct action network.]
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