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Indymedia: The Battle Of Miami (FTAA)

Images and stories of the weekend's protests in Miami around a meeting of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas meeting. Protests at the meeting met an unprecedented level of police violence and intimidation and have many observers wondering whether this is a glimpse of the future of America. For much more coverage see… http://www.ftaaimc.org/ .

NOTE: The global Indymedia community is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues.

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An eagle puppet that took part in the weekend's activities..

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The police and political repression in Miami these past days is some of the worst the global justice movement in the us has encountered. What was different in Miami...

Repression in Miami

http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=82526&group=webcast


From what I and others have witnessed in these last days in Miami, the level of violence and repression that the state is prepared to marshal against us as a movement has increased dramatically. Thousands of militarized police, in full riot gear, including electrified shields, tanks, automatic and semi-automatic weapons, tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bags, violently arresting peaceful demonstrators, in some cases with tazers, in others at gun point. Combinations of these and similar means have been used, of course, in response to global justice movement actions in the past. What makes Miami different, more frightening, is that all of these tactics were used in the absence of direct action. On Thursday morning, for example, we experienced all of these tactics without even touching the fence. Later in the day and into the evening on Thursday, and then again on Friday, we witnessed police combing the city, searching vehicles, accosting activists, in some cases throwing them to the ground at gun point, some of these including death threats.

Again, the significance of what has occurred is not simply that we have been repressed, brutalized, and criminalized, but that we have been repressed, brutalized, and criminalized based solely on our political identities as actors on behalf of a better world, and not on anything we were able to in fact do.

Repression is not what I want to write about. I want to write instead of how the ways in which we relate to one another reflect the world we are creating, one of direct democracy and spokes councils, of beautiful puppets and theater, of the joy and celebration of life. Repression and brutality, however, is trying hard to interrupt this world under construction. We may not yet live in a police state, in what other direction can we be moving if we have come to a point at which we fear expressing our political views in public because we are fear for our well-being, or for our lives even.

I hope this reflection can help spark the conversations that we will need to have in the coming weeks and months about how we organize and protect one another.

- Amor, Imaginacion e Autonomia,


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Images From The Barricades


http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1980.shtml


http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1978.shtml


http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1935.shtml


http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1928.shtml

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URGENT CALL TO ACTION: FTAA Protesters Brutalized in Miami!


http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1925.shtml

Direct Action Contingency, Miami , 11.23.2003 02:47

Our legal team estimates more than 250 arrests. People have become political prisoners and are being held in jail. More than 50 of them were arrested while holding a peaceful vigil outside the jail in solidarity with those inside. They were surrounded by riot police and ordered to disperse. As they did, police opened fire and blocked the streets preventing many from leaving. Watch Video at: http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1968.shtml

We are now receiving reports from people being released or calling from jail that there is excessive brutality, sexual assault and torture going on inside. People of color, Queer and transgender prisoners are particularly being targeted. There is a confirmed report of one Latino man arrested along with 62 others outside Miami-Dade County Jail Friday, who is currently hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit for an injury he received after being beaten in the head with night stick by an arresting officer.
This week thousands of protestors came to Miami to oppose the FTAA. The Free Trade Agreement of the Americas is an international trade agreement that aims to extend corporate control throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Prior to the mass action there was a calculated campaign on the part of the police to intimidate and harass protestors. One officer characterized this campaign by saying "You can beat the rap, but not the ride".

As we feared, our protests were met by a massive show of state repression, backed by $8.5 million in US Government funding. Miami Police Commissioner John Timoney oversaw a massive, paramilitary assault on our constitutional and human rightS.

Protestors were attacked by police wielding batons, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber, wooden, and plastic bullets and other chemical agents. Over 100 protestors were treated for injuries; 12 were hospitalized. Police dispersed large groups of peaceful protestors with tear gas, pepper spray and open fire.

Small groups leaving the protests were harassed, arrested and beaten. This campaign of fear and intimidation culminated in the closure and militarization of downtown Miami. There were confirmed reports of military tanks patrolling the streets after dark on Thursday night.

Our legal team estimates more than 250 arrests. People have become political prisoners and are being held in jail. More than 50 of them were arrested while holding a peaceful vigil outside the jail in solidarity with those inside. They were surrounded by riot police and ordered to disperse. As they did, police opened fire and blocked the streets preventing many from leaving.

We are now receiving reports from people being released or calling from jail that there is excessive brutality, sexual assault and torture going on inside. People of color, Queer and transgender prisoners are particularly being targeted. There is a confirmed report of one Latino man arrested along with 62 others outside Miami-Dade County Jail Friday, who is currently hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit for an injury he received after being beaten in the head with night stick by an arresting officer.

People have also been denied access to attorneys, visitation rights, vegetarian or vegan food, and access to essential medication and medical attention.

We call on people from around the globe to take action immediately to support our sisters and brothers who are being unfairly arrested and brutalized. We are calling for three immediate actions:

1) Call, fax, email elected officials with the demands listed below. Contact information below.

2) Money is urgently needed to get people out of jail. They are making everyone post between $100 - $5000 I in bail. We are working with bail bondsmen, but this is not enough. Send money to cover legal and jail-support expenses including: bail, getting people rides back home and other legal costs. Please send money to:

Online donations are possible at:
http://www.unitedforpeace.org/ftaadonate

You can also mail a check or money order to:

United for Peace and Justice/FTAA Fund
P.O. Box 607
Times Square Station
New York, NY 10108
[Please specify "Legal Fund" in the memo field]

3) Global Day of Action on Monday at any time and any appropriate location. This could be US Embassies, Departments of Justice or FBI offices.

THESE ARE OUR DEMANDS:

a. Drop all charges.
b. Release all political prisoners.
c. Meet basic human needs: no more brutality, provide appropriate food, access to medicine and medical attention, warm clothing.
d. Provide access to attorneys and visitation rights.
e. Provide equitable treatment to all prisoners.
f. Do not share information collected with the INS.
g. Fire Chief Timoney

Many thanks for your support. It is urgently needed.

To send a free fax:
http://www.citizen.org/fax/background.cfm?ID=245&source=19

PLEASE CALL AND WRITE:

MANUEL A. DIAZ, Mayor, City of Miami
305.250.5300
305.375.5071
mayor@miamidade.gov OR mannydiaz@ci.miami.fl.us

ALEX PENELAS, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
305.829.9336 home
305.375.5071 office
Chief of Staff: Francois Illas
Fillas@ci.miami.fl.us

KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE
State Attorney
305.547.0100

JOHN TIMONEY
Chief of Police
305.673.7925
305.579.6565

OTHER NUMBERS:

Local media has been grossly biased in their coverage. While this is somewhat to be expected, the following are numbers that people can call to voice frustration.

CBS4: 305.639.4551, 305.639.4601, 305.639.4426
WPLG channel 10: 305.576.6397
WSUN Fox: 954.524.0388 (Rosh Lowe)

Miami Jail Information: To track people in the system try:

http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com

Miami-Dade Jail (felonies)
Facility Supervisor: Captain E. Cambridge
Address: 1320 NW 13 Street Miami, FL. 33125
Facility Phone: 786.263.4100

Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center (misdemeanors)
Facility Supervisor: Captain M. Fernandez
Address: 7000 NW 41 Street Miami, Fl. 33166
Facility Phone: 305.470.7600


Carlos Alvarez, Director of Metropolitan Sheriff Department
Miami-Dade Police Department
9105 Northwest 25th Street
Miami, FL 33172-1500 USA
Telephone: 305.471.2100
Fax: 305.471.2163


OTHER CONTACT NUMBERS OF CITY OFFICIALS:

ALEJANDRO VILARELLO
City Attorney
305.416.1800

JOHNNY WINTON, Miami City Commissioner
305.858.7344 home
305.250.5333 office
E-mail: jwinton@ci.miami.fl.us

KATY SORENSON, Miami Dade County Commissioner
305.375.5218
305.378.6677

Commissioner Angel Gonzalez
E-mail: agonzalez@ci.miami.fl.us
Telephone: 305.250.5430

Commissioner Joe M. Sanchez, District 3
E-mail: jsanchez@ci.miami.fl.us
Telephone: 305.250.5380

Commissioner Tomas P. Regalado, District 4
E-mail: tr@ci.miami.fl.us
Telephone: 305.250.5420

Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr., District 5
E-mail: artteele@ci.miami.fl.us
Telephone: 305.250.5390

City Manager Joe Arriola
E-mail: jarriola@ci.miami.fl.us
Telephone: 305.250.5400

City Attorney Alejandro Vilarello
E-mail: law@ci.miami.fl.us
Telephone: 305.416.1800

City Attorney's Office
444 SW 2nd Avenue, Suite 945
Miami, Florida 33130

http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1753.shtml
http://ftaaimc.org/images/2003/11/1731.jpg

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Report from Jail Solidarity - N21, 4 pm


http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1697.shtml

Evan, Chicago Indymedia , 11.21.2003 19:16

Demonstrators at the jail face arrest and police brutality as they attempt to disperse from the area.
Report from Jail Solidarity - N21, 4 pm

As described by Evan from Chicago Indymedia and transcribed by Catfish from Midwest Unrest

At around 4:00 pm, demonstrators at 14th street and 13th avenue, about a half-block away from the jail, were told they had 15 minutes to leave the area because they were engaged in an illegal gathering.

The activists began to disperse, and at around 4:15pm there were still approximately 100 activist at the intersection who were leaving the area slowly.

As demonstrators were leaving, six people sat down in the street in an act of civil disobedience.

A mass of police dressed in riot gear (reporter did not give an estimate of their numbers) moved into the area, pushing the crown of activists away from the people engaged in civil disobedience.

The police ordered the six activists to get up and stated that the activists were breaking the law. (it is not clear to transcriber what happened to this group of six)

Press, both corporate and indymedia, were near the six activists. The riot police ordered the press to back up and encircled the six activists, blocking them from view.

At this point, about fifty demonstrators who had been dispersing on the sidewalk went into the street. Some linked arms and some were flashing peace signs. A few hundred riot police, in black and brown gear, gathered near the activists.

The police announced that the activists were breaking the law and said they had two minutes to get out of the street. The demonstrators began to move out of the street onto the sidewalk. All of them were trying to disperse at this point, none were attempting to stay in the street. Most of the activists were not wear any protective gear, such as goggles or vinegar soaked bandannas.

In what seemed to be less than two minutes, as activists were dispersing, a line of riot police moved in and split the fifty so activists into two groups.

The front group of 20-30 demonstrators had a clear path before them and began to run. Police were hitting them in the back with their billy clubs and pushing them in the back with shields. Police fired six shots from a gun loaded with rubber bullets were audible. There were several action medics with this group, all clearly marked with the red cross, at least one of whom was shot in the back with a rubber bullet. The reporter followed this group for a bit and says they all escaped the area.

At this point, approximately 4:30 pm, the reporter returned to the back group of demonstrators, who numbered 20-30. The back group was pushed off the sidewalk by the riot police and moved into a parking lot about 50 feet away from the street. This group was then encircled by riot police who blocked the view of the press. In the space of three minutes, police in a circle around this group fired over 100 shots into the group from guns loaded with rubber bullets. An aerosol sound, which the reporter believes to be the sound of mace being released from canisters, was heard. This went on for ten to fifteen minutes.

Then the riot police dragged the demonstrators out of the circle one by one. They were handcuffed with plastic ties and stood up in a line. The demonstrators were in visible distress and were drenched with liquid which the reporter believes to be mace. No clouds associated with tear gas were seen.

While this was happening, a man was pinned to the ground by riot police. One police officer held the man down with his knee pressed into the man’s back and handcuffed him with a plastic tie. The man being arrested was heard to say, “No, that is not OK!” The reporter interprets this statement to be a response to questions from the riot police about the tightness of the handcuffs.

At this point, the riot police began to move towards the press and the reporter ran from the area with two photo journalists from the corporate press.

ENDS

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