World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Brutal Treatment Of Philadelphia Protestors

Freespeech.org Urgent Action Newsletter - August 5, 2000

A young man handcuffed crucifixion style to a cell door. The screams and moans of young women echoing through the cell block C. Another young woman dragged naked, bloody through a garbage strewn prison hall. Hunger strikers denied access to water or toilets. Metal handcuffs pounding, smashing the fingers, hand and wrist of prisoners who refuse to be finger printed.

These are the scenes reported by eyewitnesses from Philadelphia's central prison, the Roundhouse, on Friday morning, August 4th. As the Republican Party National Convention left town, over four hundred men and women remained in jail, many for the fourth day. Their bails range from $6,000 to $30,000. One man was given a bail of $450,000. Two people, including Ruckus Society founder John Sellers, are being held on bail of one million dollars. Their crime?

They were among thousands of people who mobilized in Philadelphia this week to confront and challenge the corporate controlled power structure at the appointment of Republican Presidential candidate George W Bush.

Free Speech TV has been in Philadelphia all week, providing live television broadcast from the Independent Media Center. All the news that the corporate media censors. Each morning an expanded two hour telecast of Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales has examined the issues and interviewed the young men and women who have dared disrupt the festivities of the powerful. Each evening, Crashing the Party! - an hour and a half report on the day's events, hosted by Radio for Change's Laura Flanders has told the real stories of their creative challenges and Philadelphia's brutal response.

Free Speech TV's coverage can be seen on Dish Network Channel 9415 and has been carried live on over 30 Public Access cable stations around the country. It has also been streamed live and archived at www.freespeech.org. You can visit our website to get a Dish Network Satellite so that you can follow our coverage as we move to the Independent Media Center in Los Angeles on August 14th -18th to cover the mobilizations that will confront the Democratic Party at the coronation of Al Gore.

We need your support to continue this unprecedented coverage. Please contribute to the effort at www.freespeech.org/donations.html.

Now the emergency statement released by R2K, that has sponsored this weeks mobilization of opposition in Philly.

August 4, 2000

Contacts: Paul Davis, ACT UP Philadelphia, just released from jail, 215 280 7536 (cell) R2K Legal: 215 925 6791 R2K Media: 215 545 1505


BRUTAL TREATMENT CONTINUES AGAINST JAILED PROTESTERS UNPRECEDENTED CRACKDOWN HIGHLIGHTS SYSTEMATIC ATTACK ON DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES OF PEACEFUL PROTEST AND PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE

Philadelphia, PA ~ On the last day of the Republican National Convention, in Philadelphia, the cradle of democracy, police and federal authorities have demonstrated a determination to undermine both the US Constitution and people's basic human rights. Jailed demonstrators continue to demand medical treatment, access to lawyers, access to phones, and timely release. Outside, solidarity actions continue, with rallies planned at Franklin Park at 7 p.m.

Guards, police, and administrators continue to attack protestors in jail, seeking to demoralize and divide. Recently released prisoners have reported eyewitness accounts of widespread abuse that can only be described as torture. There are numerous accounts of arrestees who have been isolated, verbally abused, punched, kicked, thrown against walls, bloodied, and dragged naked across floors, in one instance through a 'trash trough' containing refuse, spittle and urine. There has been a reported sexual assault by a female officer who pulled and twisted a prisoner's penis. Seven witnesses saw one woman dragged naked and bleeding. Diabetics, epileptics, and asthmatics continue to be denied medication. Trauma and psychological stress are evident.

Paul Davis, from ACT UP Philadelphia, reports his eyewitness accounts of brutality inside the Philadelphia jail. "I saw a man handcuffed to his cell door in a crucifixion position. I heard women screaming and being dragged along the floor. I saw a woman screaming in pain as a police officer said, 'You want more?! You want more?!'"

Arrestees have now been held for over 60 hours without arraignment, some without phone calls or contact with their lawyers. Detainees report missing paperwork, and arraignments with incomplete or slipshod records. Philadelphia continues to restrict R2K Legal Committee lawyers, allowing only a total of three lawyers access to all six detention sites, and hundreds of defendants. Prosecutors have set unprecedented high bail for non-violent civil disobedience. Most bails range from $15,000 to $30,000, while others are much higher. Two individuals have bail of $1,000,000, an amount typically reserved for serial killers, not community organizers, non-violence training facilitators artists and puppet makers charged with misdemeanors.

"I consider this a civil rights catastrophe of the first order," R2K Legal Committee counsel Ron McGuire stated. "This is an attack on our 14th Amendment. An attack on due process and reasonable bail." "This is a systematic political effort to undermine and destroy the momentum of a growing movement for social and environmental justice."

R2K Legal has documented 381 confirmed arrests, not including members of the International Action Center and School of Americas Watch (15 more). Additionally, there are people we have not heard from (we estimate up to 30), but due to restrictions on protester's access to telephones, there is really no way to tell. Of these people, approximately 60 have accepted "Release on Own Recognizance" or "Signed On Bail." Prisoners are working together to agree on and communicate their demands. Solidarity tactics to demand their release include singing, chanting, and story telling, along with a 150-person-strong hunger strike. Some have been on hunger strike for as long as 56 hours. Three men have fasted without water for 28 hours.

Supporters are asked to phone Mayor John Street at 215.686.2181 and demand the immediate release of these political prisoners.

--


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news