report on Mumia Protest in San Francisco

Andrew Rose (arose@macromedia.com)
Mon, 9 Dec 1996 23:14:34 -0800


[Keith McHenry is a cofounder of FNB and coauthor of the Food Not Bombs
Cookbook,
he founded the San Francisco group in 1988 and has toured the United States and
Europe to talk about the group and teach how to start local groups]
[there is a picture of the man on http://webcom.com/peace]
[-a]

Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 20:51:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Keith McHenry <kmchenry@Catch22.COM>

On December 9. 1996 ten to twelve very wet people stood in the rain
outside the Haight Street McDonalds holding a banner and signs calling
for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom. Another group of very
wet people stood outside the Mission and 16th Street McDonalds sharing
food. Free Radio Berkeley was the only media who came to cover the
protest. It lasted from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. Many people drove by waving
support. Several people who said they lived in Golden Gate Park
described how the police were harassing them. One woman talked about how
the police had taken her clean dry blanket out of her arms, threw it in
a puddle and spit on it. Another man told us about how he had a court
order against being at the park and that even though he was 300 yards
from the park he was issued a ticket and the cops wrote down the location
Haight and Stanyan so he would not only have a ticket he would also be in
violation of a court order.

Mumia is on death row in Pennsylvania. He had been a journalist covering
the police repression against the MOVE family and had been active with
the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Panthers. Police have accused him
of killing a Philadelphia cop. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
Many of Mumia's witnesses never made it to court. One witness
disappeared while in police custody. His death warrant could be signed
in January. Clinton's new crime bill will limit his right to appeal.

The debate about holding a protest to free Mumia Abu-Jamal at McDonalds
has been fun. The Food Not Bombs Menu received a flyer from Concerned
Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal asking people to organize a
protest on December 9, 1996 against a local symbol of corporate power.
They were organizing a protest at the Stock Exchange on Wall Street in
New York.

At first people talked about organizing a protest at the Pacific Stock
Exchange in San Francisco. San Francisco Food Not Bombs tried to find
out if anyone was organizing a protest locally. We called around but no
one was organizing a solidarity action in San Francisco. We had called
Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal to find out who the San
Francisco contact was so we would not duplicate efforts. They told us
Killu Nyasha was the local contact. I called her and she thought that the
protest could be at a McDonalds. It took us some time to figure out
where to organize the protest so San Francisco Food Not Bombs took
Killu's idea of protesting at a McDonalds to heart. We thought that was
a good idea because we were so late planning the protest and we already
share free vegetarian food outside of McDonalds on Mondays. Killu is an
low income African American woman who lives in public housing. She was
active with the Black Panthers and she is a close friend of Mumia
Abu-Jamal. She is also a respected radio journalist and was the first
person to announce the action on her program Freedom is a Constant
Struggle on Free Radio Berkeley just hours after the action was planned.

Protests against McDonalds are sure to increase as the McLibel case in
London comes to an end. I was involved in anti- McDonalds protests in
Holland and France. Food Not Bombs were active in anti-McDonalds
protests in Melbourne and Sidney, Australia this past October. Helen
Steel and David Morris face millions of pounds in fines if they lose.
They are on trial for handing out flyers outside a McDonalds in London
stating that the company is responsible environmental damage, unfair
labor practices, abuse of animals. McDonalds does not agree with the
statements on the flyer and is taking them to court. The trial is
expected to end early in 1997.

This is the text of the flyer announcing the protest. We didn't hand out
very many copies because of the rain.

Stop Police Repression and Corporate Exploitation
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal * Free the Indiana 6
End the Death Penalty
Bring Killer Cops to Justice

The police are waging a war against the poor to promote corporate greed.
The friends and family of political prisoner and death row inmate Mumia
Abu- Jamal have called for protests against corporate/police repression
on December 9, 1996. Mumia Abu-Jamal is facing death because of his
opposition to corporate power. The Philadelphia Police framed Mumia
Abu-Jamal for the death of a police officer. Mumia is a journalist and
activist who is critical the political and economic system. His death
warrant may be signed in January. In Indiana 6 prisoners have been under
attack by the prison administration for their outspoken support of
prisoners rights. One activist inmate, Takuma Kalonji has been accused
of killing a prison guard. Eye witnesses have signed statements claiming
Takuma is innocent. They have started a group behind the walls called
National Prisoners Legal Front and are calling on prison inmates to
observe December 9, 1996. They are organizing a protest behind the bars
in solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal. The police in Whittier, California
are prosecuting Carri Chandler for sharing free vegetarian food with the
hungry. People in Whittier expect to get arrested if they start sharing
food in Central Park. They are sharing food from a church parking lot
but intend to return to the more visible location when they get a lawyer.
The San Diego police told Food Not Bombs that they could not share food
where they were so visible and have told them to stop. A similar thing
happened with Elgin Food Not Bombs just before Thanksgiving. In yet
another attempt to silence criticism of the economic system Helen Steel
and Dave Morris, two activists in London, England have been taken to
court for denouncing McDonald's exploitation. Their trial ends in
January and they face millions of dollars in fines. Capitalism needs a
police state to maximize the profits of the super rich.

Monday, December 9, 1996
solidarity with the March on Wall Street
1:00 pm at the 16th Street and Mission McDonalds
1:00 pm at Fillmore and Haight Street and March to the Haight and Stanyan
McDonalds.

We will not allow Mumia Abu-Jamal to be killed by the state.
Call 415-386-9209 for more information.

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