NYPD: Next Protest, Wall Street
Young demonstrator: â€œIt's not just this murder, which is totally unjustified; people are tired of the daily hassle and intimidation by the police. I feel marked on my way to work and back home. Like I have a target on my back. This is America in 2006."
(Leaders like Barron warnÂ the time for marches may be coming to an end).
Thousands descended on downtown Manhattan on Wednesday night, to protest against the New York City Police Department's 50-bullet murder of the unarmed bridegroom Sean Bell, and the attempted murder of his unarmed friends Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman following a bachelor party on November 25.
The majority of the people attending were young men and women and all were angry and called for resistance. Many voiced their own experiences with NYPD harassment and brutality.Â
"We have to stop them now,â€? a young man from East New York, Brooklyn, declared. â€œThat's why I'm here. It's not just this murder, which is totally unjustified; people are tired of the daily hassle and intimidation by the police. I feel marked on my way to work and back home.Â Like I have a target on my back. This is America in 2006."Â
The December 12th Movement, a human rights organization based in Brooklyn, led the rally.Â According to sources close to the organization, it was clear from the outset that this would not be your typical rally.Â The rally was originally slated for One Police Plaza. But, when activist organizers did their recognizance of the area that morning they found a veritable fortress with a dizzying maze of metal barricades.Â They decided to change the venue.Â
The best possible alternative was Foley Square park, one block away. The park, which is the site of the African Burial Ground monument to enslaved Africans, is a large triangular centerpiece in the heart of the NYC police state government. It is surrounded by City Hall, several courthouses, Police Plaza, the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and Federal Plaza, which house the offices of Immigration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Police, caught off guard, scrambled to recover as the crowd, directed by members of the December 12th, arrived.Â Uniformed officers rushed to carry some of the barricades from One Police to Foley Square, which was wide open.Â
The militant rally was opened by Omowale Clay of the Black Menâ€™s Movement who instructed people on the serious nature of this event. â€œBrother and sisters be clear, this is not a Hollywood show, and there will be no celebrities here to entertain you,â€? Clay said. â€œWe are in the midst of a battle and you are surrounded by the enemy.Â We must be vigilant.Â Watch your back.Â There are police agent provocateurs amongst us today; donâ€™t let them take you off point.â€?
Hordes of media were filming inside the crowd and creating distractions. Some immature young men posturing and shouting in front of cameras caused a brief scene. â€œRemember, this is the same media that is trying to portray Sean Bell and his friends as criminals and the police as the victims. Donâ€™t be so quick to talk when that camera zooms in,â€? Clay warned.
Speakers at the rally were attempting to teach the angry young masses how to struggle in the street with the police. Military instructions were issued by serious men on security.Â Control was essential and contradictions met with a strong hand. The resounding message from all the speakers was the demand for the resignation of NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly; and the resignation of the head of Organized Crime Bureau, Anthony Izzo.Â
Viola Plummer, of the December 12th Movement spoke on the nature and mechanisms of fascism and the assault on the Black community. "Terrorist police, unaffordable housing, failing schools, poor health care all are designed to eliminate us," she said.
Attorney Roger Wareham made a comparative analysis of local, national and international struggles against US imperialism and for self-determination and independence, citing Cuba, Venezuela, Iraq and Palestine as examples.Â Quoting James Baldwin, Wareham said, "To be Black in America is to be in a constant state of rage."Â Closing, he said: "We are here today to express our outrage and to put all on notice that we will be in a constant state of resistance in every arena - local, national and international until we put a stop to the racist assault on our people."
NYC Councilman Charles Barron reiterated his position. â€œPeople are not going to march much longer,â€? he warned. â€œThis may be the last one.Â They are not going to continue to get murdered without justice.Â Those police must be indicted, prosecuted for murder.Â There is no justification for the murder of Sean Bell nor the attempted murder of Guzman and Benefield.Â They were unarmed and were not committing any crime.â€?Â He then led crowd chanting, â€œKelly must go!â€?
After an intense stand off with police, rally organizers led the huge crowd in a march through the streets.Â They march down Broadway to Chambers St, and through One Police Plaza chanting, â€œWhose Streets? Our Streets!â€? and â€œThe number one enemy? NYPD!â€?
Organizers vowed to stay in the streets until their demands were met.Â The next rally is scheduled for Black Friday, December 22 on Wall Street, NYC.
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