March 21, 2009
martes, marzo 24, 2009
What started off as a peaceful demonstration on March 21st, 2009 ended in severe police brutality and arrests of innocent young Arab Americans in the streets of San Francisco. Young Arab Americans turned out in record numbers this year compared to the last 6 years of demonstrations against the war on Iraq. They marched along with the International League of Peopleâ€™s Struggles Contingent at the end of the demonstration and filled in the civic center. When an 8 year old Arab boy was grabbed by San Francisco police for allegedly carrying rocks in his backpack, young members of the Arab community intervened by first attempting to speak with police and retrieve the boy. After the police expressed an immense distaste for negotiating or discussing anything with the Arab American teenagers, a young Palestinian woman wrapped her arms around the boy to console him as he cried and to protect him from being taken by police.
The police agreed to allow the boy to go and the young woman and boy walked down the street. As I stared at the police, the young woman and the boy to ensure their security, I then saw a team of officers snatch the boy out of the young womanâ€™s arms dropping her and another young woman immediately to the floor using batons and excessive force. As the crowd of young Arab Americans stared on an immediate sense of shock and urgency emerged in which members of the crowd tried to cross the barrier to pick up the two women off the floor and protect the young screaming child. As I ran in shock toward the child a police officer slammed the barrier with his baton about an inch away from my elbow. I then stared shocked and put my hands up as he jammed his baton across my mid section dropping me to the ground. From the ground I looked up only to find another officer slamming his baton onto the the previously broken arm of an Arab American boy. The Police were swinging batons excessively knocking down only who appeared to be of Arab descent to the ground. About ten Arab American youth were brutally attacked by police as they screamed â€œback upâ€ while they surrounded the crowd of activist by a mob of officers turning the screaming, angry and fearful crowd into an encl ave of police brutality. The police officers pushed the barriers hard and fast jamming them into the stomachs of the youth at the front lines. Police arrested three and about an hour later sealed the entrances of the Civic Center Bart Station detaining six young Arab American men lining them up against a wall and later arresting them. Several youth went home injured or to the hospital in ambulances.
The Arab American community in the Bay Area is deeply saddened by this incident and is steadfast on holding those accountable for police brutality against innocent civilians. However before we can embark on this pursuit of justice, it is our responsibility to protect the civil rights of our youth and make them feel supported and understand the value of community power. The youth are in jail right now and we need to post $250,000 to release them. The money will be put up as a bond so can therefore be returned to you. We are asking for every Arab American in the San Francisco Bay Area community to contribute at least what they would for their own children. As we chanted in the demonstration today â€œaint no power like the power of the youth because of the power of the youth donâ€™t stopâ€ We are asking for you to bel ieve in your community and=2 0support our youth in a much needed time. To loan these youth some money please contact Tev at 774-240-3403. We are trying to release them from jail this evening or tomorrow at the latest.
Note: The money given is a LOAN and will be returned after the people involved go to their scheduled court date.
Thank you for your time and attention,