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Nov 7, 20

Outrage Grows in Wake of Brutal Government Crackdown of Anti-Racist Activists in Manhattan

NYPD and DHS declare war on right to protest, kettling hundreds and arresting nearly 60 — predominantly people of color — while votes still being counted. Report originally posted by Outlive Them NYC.

On the night of Wednesday, November 4, the New York City Police Department — together with federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security — turned lower Manhattan into a war zone, systematically violating the civil rights and civil liberties of hundreds, and violently arresting some sixty protesters, predominantly people of color.

Heeding the national call for anti-racist, anti-fascist, and abolitionist mobilizations the day after the general election, the Everybody Out! march brought together a diverse group of more than 1,000 New Yorkers in an act of popular resistance to a white nationalist regime that is (still) refusing to yield power to the people.

“A city so broke it cut garbage pickup has had unlimited funds to pay police overtime to pepper spray, drive cars into, kettle, and bludgeon protesting New Yorkers,” says artist, author, and NYC resident Molly Crabapple.

Following a teach-in and die-in, the march left from Washington Square Park around 7:45 p.m. Within ten minutes, the protesters met with the NYPD’s first kettle at 6th Ave. and 8th St. The kettle sowed chaos for blocks and blocks, tying up traffic as police surrounded protesters on all sides and arrested them en masse.

As the march moved south, several dozen officers from the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group (SRG), clad in paramilitary-style apparel, attacked the demonstration from all sides, shoving, tackling, and arresting marchers — including elders, families with children, disabled protesters, legal observers, medics, and reporters — before an order to disperse had even sounded. Moments later, SRG units were joined by dozens more patrol officers who aided in the brutal arrests as confused demonstrators desperately sought safety.

Contrary to the deceptive claims of the NYPD press room, eyewitness accounts and video footage shared on Twitter reveal that arrests began long before the setting of any fires or the building of any barricades — and some arresting officers went out of their way to conceal their identities.

According to Anton T., who witnessed some of the arrests (but declined to give his last name for fear of reprisal): “Some big dudes in uniforms I’ve never seen before hopped out of an unmarked car, saying, ‘Hey! Whatcha up to?’ Then they chased us into traffic and tackled my friend to the ground. Who knows where they took him? This is my home. These are our streets. What the hell, man?”

Smaller groups of marchers, who tried to continue along improvised routes through lower Manhattan, found themselves hunted down, beaten up, and arrested in a spectacular display of military force by the NYPD and DHS, whose officers were identified by multiple witnesses on the scene. Countless police vans, corrections buses, and bicycle and scooter units sped dangerously through the streets, putting drivers, bikers, and pedestrians at grave risk of accident or injury, as multiple drones and helicopters hummed overhead. With only a few hundred protesters remaining, the streets of Manhattan became a veritable theater of war, and everyday New Yorkers were visibly shaken by the vicious exhibition of state violence.

This grotesque display of gratuitous violence against unarmed demonstrators at an anti-coup, anti-racist, and pro-democracy protest shows that the NYPD has definitively aligned itself with the openly fascist coup coalition in Washington, DC. The force continues to escalate its attacks on everyday New Yorkers’ freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and right to live in a democracy, leaving little doubt that the NYPD is a rogue body, unaccountable to the taxpayers who pay their inflated salaries, and openly hostile to New York City’s long and proud tradition of protest and dissent. Our shared struggle against far-right, anti-democratic, fascist forces includes the NYPD, which continues to wage war on communities of color, LGBTQ+ folks, disabled people, and the working people of all backgrounds who call this city home.

We, the undersigned organizations, stand in unconditional solidarity with all of the protesters injured, traumatized, and unlawfully detained on Wednesday evening — as well as with all those arrested Thursday night in a repeat performance by the NYPD — and we demand that Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. immediately drop all charges. We also demand amnesty for every protester arrested since the current wave of Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist protests began in May — including those arrested en masse in the West Village (yet again) on Thursday night.

We emphasize that repression by the police and other state forces is not a new issue, but a longstanding pattern in New York City that has escalated in recent weeks and over the course of this year. It is a problem that many, particularly Black and Indigenous people, and other people of color, face on an everyday basis, regardless of whether or not they are protesting. We demand an end to all police violence, from the kettling of protesters to the extrajudicial assassination of Black people.

We also note that after six months of escalating brutality against anti-racist and anti-fascist protesters, neither Mayor Bill de Blasio, nor Attorney General Letitia James, nor any other government official or body has taken meaningful action to end police impunity. Finally, we reaffirm the people’s demand for the demilitarization, defunding, and strategic abolition of the NYPD, a rogue police force which is increasingly turning the streets of our city into the stuff of an Orwellian nightmare.

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Abolition Park is a community dedicated to elevating Black radical thought and Black voices while recognizing abolition as the only feasible path toward building a world where all systems of oppression, dehumanization, and those that infringe upon the humanity of others becomes obsolete.

Outlive Them NYC, founded in 2018 in the wake of the Pittsburgh Pogrom, is the political home for Jews against fascism in Greater New York, organizing to defend all our communities from those who would exterminate us.

United Against Racism and Fascism NYC is a broad-based coalition opposing racism and bigotry and united in solidarity and action against fascism in any form.

The Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council is a group of New Yorkers building a radical form of participatory politics based on the guiding principles of horizontalism, anti-oppression, mutual aid, direct democracy, and direct action.

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