Friday, September 26, 2008

Roma boy burnt alive in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan)

How much longer are we going to keep ignoring the persecution of the Roma people in Italy? How much longer will we use “caution”
Young Roma boy burnt alive in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan). The umpteenth victim of brutal racism.

Milan, 24 September, 2008.
How much longer are we going to keep ignoring the persecution of the Roma people in Italy? How much longer will we use “caution” when talking and writing about the cases of arson, fires lit by racists with the intention of killing “gypsies”, or fires caused by dangerous and unsuitable heating and lighting? How much longer are we going to avoid counting the Roma children who die every year of cold, hunger and infection in the camps and micro-settlements?

How much longer are we going to persist in believing that the women, the sick and weak “would have died anyway” and finally admit that they were killed by an Italy rife with racial hatred? How much longer will antiracists speak out so cautiously? How much longer will they allow themselves to be intimidated by the arrogance of those in power? How much longer, in deference of the authorities, will we allow the last hands held out to us for a few coins to remain empty, after choosing the path of intolerance (or “zero tolerance”, which is the same thing), and after abandoning the path of solidarity and charity? How much longer will we be afraid of calling the oppression of the Roman people the new Holocaust?

Last night in Milan, in the ex Falck steelworks of Sesto San Giovanni (Milan) Ciprian, a young Roma boy of 13 was burnt alive. He lived with his family in conditions of intolerable marginalization and poverty. His family were unable to return to Romania, where they own nothing, and were therefore prisoners of marginalization in Sesto San Giovanni. A candle fell on the makeshift bed where the boy slept and he perished in the flames. The Roma families in Sesto San Giovanni have no electricity, therefore no safe heating and lighting. They make do the best they can to avoid freezing to death. They are offered no assistance at all, just repression from the police. The firemen, who arrived at the scene after midnight, found the boy’s charred body. How much longer will we carry on considering these bodies “accidents” and not victims? How much longer will we deceive ourselves we are innocent? Roberto Malini

For further information:
Gruppo EveryOne ::

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cuba devastated by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav— Lift the Blockade Now

Cuba devastated by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav—
End the trade restrictions, Lift the Blockade Now!
Agriculture wiped out, 100,000 homes destroyed or damaged,
electrical and telephone service downed

We are writing to you today to ask you to join a massive campaign to End the Blockade of Cuba. You can join with tens of thousands of people who are taking action today.

"Now is not the time" to end the blockade, said Condoleezza Rice as the latest monster hurricane destroyed farms, homes, schools and hospitals throughout this beautiful island country of 12 million human beings. What an outrage!

Now is exactly the time to end this criminal blockade that uses food and medicine as a weapon against a people whose achievements in health care and education are legendary.

Take one minute and send an email letter telling members of US Congress, President Bush and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez that you support the immediate lifting of all restrictions on trade between Cuba and the United States.

Now is the Time We Can End the Blockade

Pinar -- Gustav
The Pinar del Río region damaged by Gustav, Photo: Granma International

Baracoa Ike
The Baracoa region damaged by Ike, Photo: Granma International

With direct and sustained blows from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Cuba has suffered unprecedented losses in agriculture, homes, electricity and the infrastructure this week. Thanks to Cuba’s model evacuation system, there were no deaths on the island due to Hurricane Gustav and the death toll was limited to four despite the ferocious impact of Hurricane Ike. But the devastation is widespread. On Aug. 30, Gustav, a Category 4 hurricane, with record wind gusts over 200 miles per hour, pummeled the Isle of Youth and Pinar del Río province. Hurricane Gustav destroyed or damaged 100,000 homes in Cuba.

Yet, as the people were quickly mobilizing to recover and rebuild from Gustav's destruction, Hurricane Ike, also a Category 4, tore through half of Cuba on Sept. 7 and 8, again with catastrophic damage to agriculture, homes and infrastructure. On the 9th, it resumed its path through western Cuba.

In Gustav, half of the Isle of Youth was flooded. Of the 25,000 homes there, 10,000 are without roofs or totally destroyed, 10,000 more are seriously damaged. Of the 16 bakeries that sustain the population there, 14 were destroyed. In one region of Santiago alone, more than 150,000 banana trees were wiped out. Agricultural production and storage facilities are leveled throughout the island. Cuba’s agriculture cannot recover in sufficient time for the people to receive the food they need now and in the near future.

In summary, Cuba is in dire need of a massive influx of purchases and donations of food, construction and electrical materials. Massive recovery efforts are underway on the island and the population is fully engaged.

Sanctions and Blockades Kill

What Cuba needs more than anything is the lifting of the U.S. blockade, and an immediate end to the U.S. trade and travel restrictions. The 47-year-old blockade has caused more than $86 billion of damage to Cuba.

The prohibitive restrictions on trade—such as U.S. law that requires Cuba to pay cash for U.S. agricultural goods before delivery—plus the prohibition by the U.S. government of Cuban-Americans to travel more than once every three years to visit family in Cuba (and then only “direct family,” parents, siblings or children), must be lifted now.

The U.S. government must lift all restrictions on travel and trade so Cuba can recover! End the U.S. blockade NOW!

On Sept. 3, Washington's "offered" to send $100,000 of aid to Cuba, but only to U.S.-designated "non-governmental" organizations, along with an assessment team whose only intention is intelligence-gathering. This piifully small amount with strings attached is an insult. The Cuban people need real solidarity and humanitarian assistance, which many people in the United States, especially Cuban-American families, want to extend.

But U.S. laws and White House edicts continue to punish the Cuban people and their families in Florida. The U.S. policy of blockade, including the "Trading with the Enemy" Act, the Torricelli Law (1992) and the Helms-Burton Law (1996), are in direct violation of international law. Since 1992, every UN General Assembly session has voted overwhelmingly against the U.S. blockade. In 2007, the vote was 183 to 4.

Take Action: Join the Campaign of Humanitarian Aid
and to End the Blockade!

Cuba has never failed to extend its solidarity to people all over the world. Whether it is the 700 Cuban medical personnel in Haiti, the thousands of doctors in Venezuela, the immediate offer to send 1,100 medical doctors with emergency equipment to New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina (an offer rejected by Bush), or sending those same doctors to the Himalayas of Pakistan after 86,000 people died in the earthquake in 2006, Cuba and its people have extended concrete solidarity to others in need, time and again.

It is our turn to extend our solidarity to the people of Cuba.

Take one minute and send an email letter telling members of Congress, President Bush and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez that you support the immediate lifting of all restrictions on trade between Cuba and the United States.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

Sierra Leonean Refugees in Germany Question APC Government's Invovlement In "Coordinated Deportation Order"

Is it a refugee trade or recommencement of the globally abolished slave trade?

Dear Editor,

Please allow me a chance to express through your credible news medium, the plight of Sierra Leonean refugees who are currently languishing in isolated asylum camps in the Federal Republic of Germany, some whom had been rejected papers for more than 10 years ago.

When President Ernest Bai Koroma emerged victorious in the last presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leonean, most Sierra Leonean refugees in Germany including myself burst into joy in anticipation of the positive changes that he preached during the political campaign under the symbol of what we always viewed as a brand new, different APC. Our expectations even rose beyond sky limit when he started inviting his compatriots in the diasporas to go back home and help rebuild the nation in spirit of patriotism and national unity.

Our expectations however, has recently diminished to the lowest degree as we realised that the current APC government is not only attacking journalists, awarding unethical electricity contracts, signing questionable deals in favour of Lebanese merchants, but the department of Foreign Affairs and International Relations in collaboration with the Immigration Headquarters in Freetown, are currently working hands in gloves with the European governments to carry out what they call “coordinated deportation exercise “ which will target all Sierra Leonean refugees in the region.

President Koroma’s government is believed to have signed a deal with the European states, particularly the Federal Republic of Germany, to exchange Travellers Certificates (TC) with economic aid since most refugees in the country arrived without passport. A verification team including officials from Foreign Affairs and Immigration departments in Freetown are due in Germany on the 15th this month to help the German government identify Sierra Leonean citizens to be deported.

An official letter signed by the head of Foreign Office (Ausländerbehorde) has been circulated to all Sierra Leonean refugees in the country (including myself) to report to the nearest police station on a specific date between 15th and 30 September 2008. The Sierra Leonean government, according to credible source, has also agreed to issue TC to all other West African citizens who had seek asylum in Germany over the years using Sierra Leone. A sudden shock is going down our spines to learn that APC can accept such an unpatriotic deal after the then SLPP regime had exclusively rejected it over the years.

The Sierra Leonean Embassy in Bonn, Germany, has confirmed that indeed such development is in progress but they were never informed by neither the home Government nor the German government.

In May last year, similar exercise threw into quagmire thousands of poor families in Togo, Guinea and Nigeria as they unexpectedly received hundreds of their relatives after their governments had issued Travellers Certificates to the European states in exchange of financial support for their corrupt administrations.

It is now clear that the APC’s habit of saying YES to whatever idea rejected by sober minded governments (example Zainab Banguras’ YES to Chaina against Tibet, Serry Kamal’s YES to Wanza, and President Koroma’s YES to the current deportation scheme) has decreased their popularity among the Sierra Leonean community in Germany to infinitesimal

It’s note worthy that the Universal Declaration of human-right which took place decades ago in Geneva prohibited the sale, exchange or replacement of human being with cash, object, chance, or idea of any type. It’s in view of the above that we the Sierra Leonean refugees in Germany are requesting an answer from both the German and Sierra Leone governments: Is this scheme a refugee trade or recommencement of the globally abolished slave trade?

By Bassy Kamara

Secretary General

United Sierra Leoneans in Hamburg

Protest gegen Abschiebeanhörungen in Hamburg-Wandsbek

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Landowners Attack Venezuelan Indigenous Clamoring for Land Rights in Zulia

Venezuelan Government Accelerates Yukpa Land Demarcation but Tension Remains

August 18th 2008
, by James Suggett -
Cacique Sabino Romero, leader of the occupations of 14 landed estates, victim of repeated assassination attempts by landowners (
Cacique Sabino Romero, leader of the occupations of 14 landed estates, victim of repeated assassination attempts by landowners (
Mérida, August 17, 2008 (—A Venezuelan indigenous community belonging to the Yukpa ethnic group, which is demanding legal title to its ancestral lands, was attacked last week by hundreds of armed aggressors. According to the Yukpa, the aggressors were hired by elite landowners to evict the indigenous population from the vast, largely idle pastures in the region known as the Sierra de Perijá near Venezuela’s northwestern border with Colombia.

The attacks were the latest and largest in a string of attempts to intimidate and terrorize a Yukpa community since they intensified their land recuperation efforts efforts over the past year by occupying 14 privately owned estates known as Haciendas.

Last month, prominent estate owner Alejandro Vargas and four others, armed with handguns and machetes, attempted to assassinate the Yukpa cacique (chief) who is leading the occupations, Sabino Romero, and in the process killed Romero’s elderly father.

“They arrived quietly and hit me over the neck with their guns and hit me in the back. They grabbed me by the hair and dragged me and asked for Sabino, yelling dirty words and saying they are going to kill me,” testified Guillermina Romero, Sabino’s daughter, to alternative media groups who were the only journalists who visited the scene.

According to the Venezuelan constitution, ratified by popular vote in 1999, and an Indigenous Peoples Law passed in 2005, the government has the obligation to grant indigenous communities legal title to their ancestral lands.

However, government figures show that out of 67 cases that have been opened by the federal Land Demarcation Commission, 59 remain stalled. Yukpa leaders say the government quietly placed the controversial land demarcation initiative on the political back burner last year, presumably in order to minimize conflict in the runup to this November’s regional and local elections.

In addition, land demarcation officials demand geographical and agricultural information that can only be obtained with the cooperation of the powerful and violent hacienda owners. Thus, Yukpa leaders say they have no choice but to trespass on the lands that were stolen from their grandparents over the course of the 20th Century.

As tension mounts, the government led by President Hugo Chávez faces the decision of whether to expel the Yukpa in defense of private property in this semi-fuedal zone or comply with its own land titling initiative by giving collective land titles to the Yukpa, compensating the current owners, and protecting the Yukpa from mercenary attacks.

The National Guard, which did not respond to any of the recent mercenary attacks, has now mounted batallions within a kilometer of the occupying Yukpa community and awaits orders from the state. National Intelligence officials also arrived last Monday, according to alternative media sources at the scene.

According to Guillermina Romero, after Alejandro Vargas shot through the small door of a Yukpa home where he thought Cacique Sabino was hiding in July, he told the Yukpa that pleading to the National Guard or local government will do no good because “I pay all of them.”

Anonymous National Guard officials told independent journalists Monday that the troops expected to receive orders to clear the indigenous communities from the haciendas Tuesday.

The same day, María de Los Angeles Peña, a director of the federal student loan program Fundayacucho and long-time ally of the indigenous struggle, gave a rousing speech in the National Assembly in support of the Yukpa. A simultaneous blitz of well-coordinated alternative media reports throughout the week brought national attention to the issue, and the Yukpa have not been evicted.

The Chavez government has yet to indicate a clear stance on this particular struggle. Last Monday, Chávez declared to an Indo-American Youth Conference in Caracas that “in this historic moment… the indigenous should continue being part of the vanguard.”

“There will be no socialism in these lands of America if we do not incorporate the most profound tradition, cultures, lifestyles, and communitarian modes of production of the aborigines,” proclaimed Chávez.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Nicia Maldonado, denied that there were hundreds of mercenaries who attacked the Yukpa, and said it was really a group of 50 mercenaries. Maldonado reiterated the government’s “intention” to “return the lands which historically correspond to indigenous peoples,” and pledged to visit the lands in dispute to “clarify” the situation.

The minister was accompanied by five Yukpa caciques who oppose the land occupations led by Cacique Romero. They denounced Romero for deviating from “the legal path,” and said Romero’s ecologist allies from the city, who have participated in the occupations, are “the most responsible for the events that have occurred.”

“We live in peace and harmony… It is not our custom to invade,” said Cacique María Teresa Yasphe. “We want to resolve this in peace… respecting the White Man’s law, sitting down with caciques, functionaries, estate owners, and the minister to dialogue.”

Several such meetings have already taken place in Yukpa lands since 2005. In October of that year, an hacienda owner was filmed making what many Yukpa see as another broken promise to “define the indigenous territories so we are all in agreement.”

The caciques allied with Minister Maldonado praised the national government for bringing popular social programs known as “Missions” to the Yukpa, promoting literacy, and bringing modern health care to their communities. Romero, however, envisions a more autonomous path of development protagonized by the Yukpa themselves, and does not agree that the Yukpa have invaded or broken the law.

“The landowners have taken control of lands which by law pertain to us,” said Romero. While the landowners continue deforesting the region to make pastures for their cattle, “we are rescuing crops, cacao, corn, sugar cane, avocado and coffee,” he asserted.

The National Cattle Ranchers Federation (FEDENAGA) defended the elite hacienda owners last week by calling the conflict with the Yukpa a “national emergency.”

Aiming for a weak spot of the Chávez administration, which has struggled to combat food shortages and price inflation over the past year, FEDENAGA officials reported that milk production has been reduced by 5,000 liters per day as a result of the occupations.

Regional and local authorities from both opposition and pro-government camps who support the expansion of coal mining in the delicate watershed region have consistently opposed the empowerment of Yukpa, Barí, and Wayúu indigenous communities in the area.

The Yukpa, precariously trespassing on their own lands, have expressed fear that if they are evicted, they will never be allowed to return. As they rely on Venezuelan alternative media for support, it is now the government’s turn to act.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Nigerian Embassy: Slave Trade in Germany

Nigerian Embassy: Slave Trade in Germany

A Video statement by Clarke Itama,

Nigerian citizen living in Germany

Press release

Immigrants and refugees from Nigeria and other African countries living in Germany are suffering massive deportation. They are continuously denied the chance for asylum or regular stay as the German authorities enforce efforts to expel them by force. The Nigerian embassy in Germany is playing a crucial role for this policy: It is actively supporting the deportation of Nigerian citizens and other Africans by carrying out so-called “identification hearings” for issuing traveling documents (TCs) for deportations. The next of such deportation hearing is planned to take place from 16th till 18th of September in Dortmund/Federal state of Nordrhein-Westfalen.

Mr. Olushola Adeagbo, spokesman of the Human Rights organisation “Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants“, strongly condemns the Nigerian embassy’s support for deportations: “It seems as if the Nigerian embassy has become a central agency for the deportation of African migrants and refugees!

  • It is one of the most shocking treatments of refugees in Germany that the embassies of African countries are collaborating in this desecration of fundamental human rights. The most prominent of these collaborators is the Nigerian embassy in Germany.
  • The aim of the German authourity is clear: Accelerating massive deportation of Nigerians and other Africans from Liberia, Togo, Sudan who are forced to attend hearings with the main aim to deport them to Nigeria.
  • The deportation service for the German authorities is a profitable business for the Nigerian embassy as they receive 250 Euro for every interview and 250 Euro more for each Travel Certificate (TC) issued.
  • Refugees and Migrants are forced to attend “Identification Hearings” against their will through various repressive means including imprisonment, by the local German authorities.

It has come to the extent that deportation hearings with the Nigerian embassy is taking place every month, each time in a different region or city of Germany: The Nigerian embassy officials were in Halberstadt in January 2008, in February they were in Dortmund, March in Ludwigsburg, April in Leipzig, June in Munich and in July they were in Karlsruhe. The latest Nigerian embassy hearing took place from 12th till 14th of August once again in Halberstadt/Sachsen Anhalt. Most of the victims were forcefully conveyed to the venue by the police. Some of them reported that they were brought to the Nigerian embassy officials in handcuffs.

Mr. Olushola Adeagbo states about the upcoming Nigerian embassy hearing from 16th till 18th of September in Dortmund as follows: “Based on the previous experiences with Nigerian embassy hearings, we expect that once again, African Refugees and Migrants will be facing massive violations of their personal freedom.

Meanwhile, activists of the Nigerian-African community in Germany, together with German anti-racist activists, have started organising complaint and protest against the Nigerian embassy’s deportation policy. A meeting of Nigerian community activists with the Nigerian ambassador Mr. Abdul-Kadir Bin Rimdap has been scheduled for 14th of September 2008. “We want to make clear to His Excellency that our embassy must own up to its real responsibility for the welfare of its citizens residing abroad rather than collaborating in the deportation abuse and otherwise,” says Mr. Rex Osa, spokesman for the Nigerian-African Community Forum.

The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants is happy to answer further questions.

Our contact address: Karawane, c/o EineWeltHaus, Schwanthalerstr. 80, 80336 München, Germany, Europa
e-mail: nigeria-anti-deportation [at]

For more detailed information, see our internet feature:

Links to stories of interest

Images from the deportation hearing in Halberstadt

  • Nigerians delievered by the police

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

State Terrorism Operating in Kashmir Valley

What is the way out?

Assabah Khan, 28.8.2008

Indian Administered Kashmir is back in news. This time the reason is Kashmiris are protesting against transferring of 40 acres of land to non- state subjects. Why are Kashmiris so suspicious about transferring of this land? Mr. Umar Abdullah President of National Conference read out the statute 9 of land transfer order to public in a TV show hosted by take 1 Television. This statute allows the parties taking possession to construct railway lines and public transport system on the acquired land. People are questioning how come a government is going to lay railway line for 3 months and take it off for 9months? When the pilgrims are free to move the whole of Kashmir why are they wanting to have separate public transport system? These are some of the questions which makes this whole order suspicious. Tremendous public reaction and a strike for ten days enforced the state government to revoke the order. I was in England
for ESF 2004 and we met a person named Jeff Hurd. Jeff is a Jew working for Israeli Committee Against Demolition of Palestinian Homes (ICHAD). Jeff told me if I ever visited Israel he will familiarize me with a concept called 'Metrics of Control'. I couldn't understand
what he meant by this? He said this is how Israeli government is creating pockets of Jewish settlements and thus uprooted the Palestinians. He even told me that I should tell my people to be careful as Israeli Intelligence agencies are sharing information with Indian Intelligence agencies to create the same Metrics of Control in Kashmir. In my mind I dismissed this whole argument as absurd and I even forgot I had ever met this man. This year when I saw many Kashmiris talking about creation of Israeli type settlements I was reminded of Jeff. Is Government of India really trying to change the demography of the state is an issue of debate?

Jammuites came out on the streets against the revocation of land order. They blocked the national highway Kashmir's only link to outside world. Kashmiri drivers are attacked with petrol bombs. As more and more Kashmiri drivers started pouring in narrating horror tales of attacks by Hindu rightwing people the situation in valley started worsening with shortage of supplies like food, medicines, petrol and other daily commodities. On 11th August, 2008 fruit traders association gave a call of Muzaffarabad march and threatened the government with crossing the Line of Control as their fruit woth billions of rupees started rotting as a result of economic blockade.

Pro- freedom leaders and even Peoples Democratic Party PDP decided to support the call. Almost 6 people died the same day including Sheikh Abdul Aziz a pro-freedom leader.Next day on 12th August almost 12 people died. 10 died in the valley and two in Kashtawar district of
Jammu. All these people died as a result of firing by Indian troops on unarmed civilians who were protesting against economic blockade.

Next day on 13th, pitched battles could be seen between troops and Kashmiri people as a result killing almost 10 people and many were critically injured. What was shocking for the Indian authorities was not the killings but the amount of people who poured out on the streets during Muzaffrabad march. So far government of India was misleading the national and international public that Kashmir is a problem of cross border terrorism but all of a sudden it was faced with a sea of unarmed civilians not only demanding opening up of Muzaffarabad road but freedom of Kashmir. They were carrying no arms and they carried peaceful rallies and government could not find any excuse to justify excessive use of force. With the death toll rising to 40 with many critically wounded not sustaining the injuries the whole valley was wrapped in rage and sorrow and Kashmiris feeling that last shred of trust with Indian state was torn.

Unending sea of people shouting pro- freedom and anti-India slogans which turned on the roads during March to UN office on 18th August, 2008 almost made the government of India feel crazy. It was almost a mandate from the people of Kashmir that they no more want Indian rule
in Kashmir. Highly placed sources told this writer that Initially government agencies had decided not to allow the march to UN but at 11:00 PM at night Indian Intelligence People gave in the inputs that government should allow the rally to go ahead and they are going to achieve something big next day. As highly placed sources quoted that the main objective was to break the coalition. Many rumours about breaking of coalition were spread including that Mirwaiz Umar mightnot turn up at Eidgah rally. But on 22 August, 2008 when again a whole sea of people turned up and no break in coalition could be achieved government decided not to allow march to Lal Chowk. Curfew was imposed in valley. According to Hindu Indian national newspaper 13 journalists were beaten, curfew passes were dishonored, local TV channels were banned. So, is this repression going to serve the purpose of government of India or are Kashmiris going to internalize all their suffering till it ignites again and erupts again in more intense manner.

The best solution would be to open all the trade routes to Jammu and Kashmir, initiate a dialogue process with the government of Pakistan without any delaying tactics, have some kind of joint control of the region and have maximum sovereignty for the valley.

Read also:
Azadi It's the only thing the Kashmiri wants. Denial is delusion.

by Arundhati Roy

Defend RNC Protesters in St. Paul!

Take Action to Defend RNC Protesters!
Stop the Police Riot in St. Paul!

Although it went virtually unmentioned in the corporate media, on Sept. 1, the largest anti-war march of 2008 took place outside the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. 30,000 people from all over the Midwest and the country gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul and them marched to the Xcel Center, the site of the RNC. Large numbers of buses came from all over Illinois, Wisconsin, and the surrounding states.

Michael Prysner, speaking in St. Paul
The march was overwhelmingly young people, and was led by the veterans' and immigrant rights contingents. Other sizable contingents included a strong labor contingent, a poor people's contingent, and a contingent in solidarity with Palestine. The chant ""Iraq for Iraqis -- Troops Out Now" filled the streets, along with the crowd favorite, "Who's the Biggest Terrorists in the World Today? Bush, Cheney and the CIA!"

Among the many speakers at the Minnesota State Capitol, where the march gathered, was Michael Prysner, an Iraq war veteran who represented the ANSWER Coalition. Mike addressed the crowd, "I was sent to Iraq in 2003 not to save the Iraqi people, but to kill the Iraqi people. I was sent not to free the Iraqi people, but to imprison and torture the Iraqi people. I was sent not to liberate Iraq, but to occupy Iraq. There is no longer any question that this war was not for so-called “Iraqi freedom”, it was not an act of self-defense, and it was not simply a foreign policy error by the republican party- it was a well-calculated plan carried out by both parties to dominate the Middle East, killing as many innocent people as necessary and profiting from that human suffering."

Send a Letter Demanding the St. Paul Government Release All Protesters!

The police have engaged in a widespread riot against social justice organizations, resulting in the arrest of around 300 protesters. Most of the arrested are still in jail, and at least one person with a serious medical condition has been refused care.

Even before the Convention began, protesters had the organizing centers raided. Armed groups of police in the Twin Cities have raided more than half-a-dozen locations since Friday night in a series of “preemptive raids." The raids and detentions have targeted activists planning to protest the convention, including journalists and videographers from I-Witness Video and the Glass Bead Collective. These media organizations were targeted because of the instrumental role they played in documenting police abuses the 2004 RNC Convention. Their comprehensive video coverage helped more than 400 wrongfully arrested people get their charges thrown out.

Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar -- who clearly identified themselves as members of the media -- were arrested, and could face suspicion of rioting charges, a felony. When Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! went to the scene to inquire with a police commander about the arrest of her producers, she too was arrested. A CodePink march and several breakaway marches were also met with police repression. Tear gas and concussion grenades have been used to disperse crowds.

There is an undeniable pattern of police repression at these conventions. In 2004, 1500 protesters were arrested at the RNC. Subsequent litigation on behalf of the protesters revealed that national and local enforcement conspired to deny protesters their civil liberties and civil rights. Protesters were held in miserable conditions, and only mass pressure forced the police to release them.

Please take a moment and click this link to send a letter to Chris Coleman, the mayor of St. Paul, demanding that all protesters and social justice organizers be released, and that all charged be dropped. The real criminals are the "law enforcement" authorities, who have systematically violated the free speech rights of protesters, and in more than a few cases carried out physical abuse.

This report was filed with information provided by John Beacham of the ANSWER Coalition.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311