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(en) US, ARA campaign against the pro-life assault in Jackson, Mississippi

Date Mon, 17 Jul 2006 12:25:32 +0300

Anti-Racist Action is in Jackson, Mississippi for the next three
weeks, fighting to keep the last abortion clinic in the state from being
shut down by militant pro-lifers.
This issue couldn't be more relevant or important. If these pro-life
wingnuts are allowed to win, abortion will be essentially illegal in
Mississippi. Also, a pro-life victory here will embolden these groups
and harden their resolve, leading to many, many more right-wing
assaults on clinics across the country. A failure to stop them here
could well snowball out of control.
We are currently fighting Operation Save America, a confrontational
anti-choice group made up of families and hotheaded, super
masculine men. The Minutemen are rumored to be in town, with
reinforcements on the way. At the end of the month, a notoriously
militant group known as Oh, Saratoga will be arriving for a week of
actions. These are our identified enemies at this point, not counting
lone wolf wingnuts and various white supremacist and fascist groups
who may make an appearance at any time.

After driving for two days and 17 hours, we arrived on the morning
of Friday, the 14th. We immediately dove into preparation, securing
places for everyone to stay and working out logistical, intelligence,
and security matters. Our plate was especially full when one
considers that four of the five initial advance vehicles broke down on
the way, two of them breaking down twice. Bad luck? Who knows...

After working out the infrastructure we needed to operate here, we
rolled on Saturday the 15th with about 20 people to help protect a
NOW (National Organization of Women) rally from the pro-lifers.
Although the area was crawling with uniformed and plainclothes
police and two school buses of riot cops were sitting right at the edge
of the event, the OSA fascists came right in and were met with an
effective ARA blockade. We were able to hold their initial scout
team, who were carrying signs displaying aborted fetuses and bible
scripture, for about 30 minutes. At that point, OSA members came
into two other sides of the park carrying massive, six foot high
pictures of dead fetuses. Although we were stretched very thin at this
point, we were still able to go person-to-person and hinder their
movement towards the stage. Things escalated when the fascists
began shoving and hitting ARA members with their signs. Seeing
this, the police broke out their beating sticks and riot shields and
began to try to intervene.

After a few more minutes of this, and repeated warnings and threats
from the police, NOW members began adopting our harassment
tactics, pushing OSA members back, blocking them with their
pro-choice signs, and even linking arms and surrounding individual
members! It was an exciting time; OSA was being blocked on all
sides, the pro-choice rally was protected, and we were winning. At
this point, the police declared that there was a "bomb threat" and
began pushing EVERYONE out of the park, whacking some of us
with their shields as they herded us onto the sidewalk. With half of
the crowd on one side of the street and the other half on the other,
chaos began to creep into the equation. The police began to lose
their cool, and there were several heated shouting matches. Shortly
thereafter, the permit ended and everyone was ejected from the area.
Apparently the ATF bomb robot was brought out and blew up a
"suspicious package" but many of us are somewhat skeptical.
Whether it was a legitimate bomb threat or the police fabricated one,
it sure seemed like they were on OSA's side.

I am about to run out of time on this public computer, but I will be
writing a report on today's actions sometime tonight or tomorrow.
We are acting effectively, but we desperately need more people.
Contact us and get down here! There's the widest range of tactics
imaginable being employed here at this point and it's only day three
of the three week campaign.

Come down South and help us put these fundamentalist bigots in
their place. Let's give 'em the boot and keep abortion safe and legal
in Mississippi!

For Unrestricted Reproductive Freedom for All.
No Pasaran! Pasaremos
Asheville Anti-Racist Action.

Clinic Defense in Jackson, Mississippi

Sunday, July 16 2006 @ 01:29 PM PDT

Anti-Racist ActionToday (Sunday) was an ultimate win for
Anti-Racist Action. We were asked by the Unitarian Universalist
Church to provide protection during their Sunday service from
Operation Save America (previously known as Operation Rescue)
who came bearing 10 foot signs of an aborted fetus, set up a speaker
on a tripod, and began yelling (from across the street) about how
we're all going to burn in hell because we allow 50 million unborn
children to die in the U.S. alone. Many read from the bible at length,
told us they wanted to save us from the depths of hell (by turning to
Jesus, of course) and called us cowards and shameful when we wore
our bandanas as face masks (even though almost all of them had
either a digital camcorder or a camera)

The Jackson Police, upon viewing the arrival of the Pro-Lifers,
warned them that they had parked their cars on private property (an
auto-body shop parking lot) and that they had to leave. After about
10 minutes of the Christians ignoring the police requests, the police
stopped making them, and allowed them to stay.

The real treat of the day, however, came when a "Pro-lifer" tried to
enter the church parking lot. Even though we had reiterated that they
were not welcome, and not allowed on private property, one man,
wearing a "Jesus is the standard" shirt, tried to drive his car into the
lot. Affinity groups assembled, locked arms, and stopped his
progress. He tried to open up his car door only to be met by a
member of the congregation standing directly in front of it, and
holding a "Protect Women's Rights" sign up to his window. During
the chaos and yelling, the car's hood was dented, the windshield was
badly cracked, and the passenger door was caved in. Despite several
cameras being present (from both sides) there is no footage showing
who was responsible for the damage.

After that, no other car attempted to enter the church area.

Several individuals, however, did try to cross the street to preach to
us about the Bible. Again, groups assembled and prevented him
from stepping foot onto the grass parking lot. A police officer slowly
sauntered over, and said "Excuse me, Sir, but you're going to have
to go back to your side." The man tried to say that it was public
property, and which point we clarified that it was private, and
harassed him back to the other side of the street.

The fun dwindled around 12 pm (Many of them were severely
overweight, and needed a break to get a meal from McDonald's)
after having started around 9 a.m.
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