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(en) US, Phoenix: Martin Luther King Day, march, celebration, and state repression

Date Wed, 18 Jan 2006 15:07:51 +0200


Police StateHundreds marched through the streets of downtown
Phoenix Monday morning, celebrating the legacy of Dr. King.
Marchers varied from families and individuals, to black fraternities,
social clubs, the NAACP, and church groups. For the sixth year in a
row, members of the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition (PAC) joined in the
march, along with the AZ Counter Recruitment Coalition, a local
group that organizes youth against joining the military.
The march ended at Margaret T. Hance park, next to the Phoenix
Public library, where a stage and sound system are set up, and there
are number of vendors, mostly black owned businesses, selling food,
clothes, and offering different services for the community. The event
was kicked off by four different politicans speaking, the governor,
Phoenix mayor, a city council woman, and the state attourney
general, all receiving little to no appaluse, not a big surprise
considering they all patted themselves on the back for how hard they
strive to uphold MLK's dream. In the meantime, dozens of gang task
force officers make their way into the park and surrounding
neighborhood.

Just after 4, the police, using officers on horseback and in riot gear,
forced everyone out of the park, while the mayor came on over the
loud speaker asking everyone to honor King's dream and to go home
to their families. This left 300 people, most in their teens, lingering in
a crowd, talking, laughing, playing games, and staring down the police
who were moving in on the crowd to force them off of the park and
library property. The crowd ran out away from the library where they
were pepper sprayed by more cops, some youths responded by
throwing rocks at police and police cars. People were yelling out "fuck
the pigs", "fuck the cops", and an endless number of variations, one
man was overheard saying "They's sprayin' us like roaches!" after riot
police indiscriminately pepper-sprayed the crowds of youths.
Throughout the next two hours, officers chased down groups of kids,
seperating them from the larger group, using the Phoenix PD's gang
task force, and forcing them to disperse. Phoenix Copwatch was
present during the late afternoon repression, as were a few members
of PAC, this writer included. Much of what occurred after the
celebration is documented in photos below, including pictures from
the morning march.

Photos and coomentary by KB and Just another @


Unlike previous years all the parking lots were reserved for police;
some focks had to park a mile away. Was this to keep attendance
down?


A small portion of the march


The afternoon crowd


The crowd was forced out of the park by mounted police.


Cops were hiding, and discreetly snapping photos of the crowd.


A peaceful crowd relaxes after being removed from the park by
Phoenix PD.


Mounted units move in, this caused the crowd to panic and run from
the park into the streets.


The young man on the right was on a public sidewalk when the pigs
sprayed the crowd with pepper spray. The man on the left, a member
of PAC, rinsed his eyes with water until the sprayed young man could
see again.


"Public space" was no longer to be used by the public, by order of the
pigs.


The action got intense just before this, as riot cops appeared and
began pepper spraying young teens. The kids responded by throwing
rocks at the cops.


More riot cops appear, now with gas masks, as over 50 officers are
now in Central Ave., pushing everyone up towards McDowell.


Defying the police seizure of public space, the crowd takes over the
intersection of Central and McDowell


Moments before attacking the crowd with pepper spray, again.


Cops on motorcycles try to clear kids out of the street, but are still
being taunted by the, now very angry, young people.


Black people are no longer allowed to eat at Taco Bell by order of the
Phoenix PD's gang task force. Cops swoop in to clear out MLK
celebrators who were arriving at/or already eating at Taco Bell.


This time at 5th st. and McDowell, forcing kids to leave a park where
they were resting.


These guys were trying to leave, but the gang task force wouldn't stop
harassing them.


People were likewise forbidden from eating at McDonalds.

http://www.phoenixanarchist.org/
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