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Aug 25, 20

Rebellions Break Out in Lafayette and Kenosha as Solidarity Marches Hit the Streets

A new round of uprisings has kicked off across the so-called United States following the police killings of Trayford Pellerin, “a 31-year-old Black man who was fatally shot Friday night” in Lafayette, Louisiana and 29-year-old Jacob Blake, also Black, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Pellerin was killed after police were called to the scene of a convenience store after someone called in reports of a man walking around with a knife. Police responded by first tasering Pallerin and then shooting him after he walked toward a gas station door. As one report wrote:

Police were allegedly called to the scene after someone reported a man walking around with a knife in his hands. In the cell phone video, Pellerin can be seen walking towards the gas station as police pursue on foot and in vehicles. As Pellerin reaches for the door, shots were fired from multiple weapons.

Rickasha Montgomery, who filmed the shooting, said she saw police electrocute Pellerin with a taser before shooting him. As with the shooting of Blake, neither man was facing officers, much less attempting to get physical or violent, yet both were met with deadly force.

After breaking up a fight that officers were responding too, Blake was shot by police “in the back seven times at point-blank range as he attempted to enter his vehicle where his children, aged three, five and eight, were seated in the back.” While Blake would survive the police shooting, a video clip of the altercation went viral across social media; helping kick off a wave of protests, riots, and solidarity marches across the US.

In Lafayette, LA, several nights of unrest, mass marches, and looting – took place following the police murder of Pellerin, with officials predictably blaming those from “outside the community” for the rebellion. According to one report:

Protests continued Monday for a third straight day in Lafayette after the police killing of 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin, including a demonstration outside City Hall and a a group blocking the entrance to the gas station where he was shot by officers. More than 30 protesters gathered late Monday morning outside a locked Lafayette City Hall, calling for police reforms and Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s resignation.

Another group of about 50 protesters gathered later Monday at the gas station off Northeast Evangeline Thruway where police killed Pellerin. They added items to a memorial created there for him, and held signs “Justice for Tray,” “A badge is not a license to kill,” and “Black lives matter.” They also formed a line across the entrance of the station, blocking vehicles from entering for about an hour.

In Denver, Colorado a small riot kicked off late Sunday night. According to The Denver Post:

City and state officials on Sunday decried the actions of about 75 people who started fires, broke windows, injured a police officer and damaged property Saturday night during an “Abolish the Police” protest outside the Denver Police Department’s headquarters.

Denver in the Streets on Sunday. SOURCE: CBS Denver

Demonstrations and clashes also continued in, Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Charlotte, NC outside of the RNC. In Seattle, marchers carrying shields broke windows belonging to Amazon, various tech companies, and set fire to a police building. Following the shooting of Jacob Blake, rioting, looting, and targeted arson and property destruction also began breaking out in cities across Wisconsin.

In Madison, WI:

Another night of protests in Madison ended with tear gas, pepper spray, smashed windows, fires and looting Monday evening into the early morning hours Tuesday — with damage extending from State Street into the Capitol Square area.

Following a now-familiar pattern, the overnight destruction followed peaceful daytime protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha Sunday. This time, the damage started just before 11 p.m. with a dumpster fire at the top of State Street. At least Walgreens, a liquor store and a glasses store were looted. Police responded with tear gas, pepper spray and sponge projectile rounds.

The Madison protest grew over the course of the night with just around 100 protesters at the beginning of the night and well over 1,000 later in the evening. At one point, the crowd filled two full blocks of State Street.

At the epicenter in Kenosha, the fourth largest city in Wisconsin and home to only around 100,000 people, saw intense rioting, arson attacks against government buildings, and looting of stores over the past two days. The uprising began with clashes between community members and the police, as people began throwing bricks at police and their vehicles. As the clashes spread, rioters marched on the downtown police station, facing an onslaught of rubber bullets and tear gas. As night fell, people set fire to a car dealership, garbage trucks that police had placed to obstruct the marchers, and also to the downtown courthouse. Clashes with riot police and heavily armed law enforcement continued into the early morning, as police shot off tear gas and projectiles in an attempt to quell the rebellion.

On Monday, police also attacked journalists and protesters who attempted to enter a press conference and surround Mayor John Antaramian, a Democratic career politician. As one report wrote:

Tensions in the impoverished deindustrialized city in southeastern Wisconsin, with an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent, remained at knife’s edge throughout the day Monday after an afternoon press conference with Mayor John Antaramian at the city’s public safety building devolved into another scene of police brutality. Riot police pepper sprayed the assembled crowd of journalists and community members who were demanding entry to the building before the conference was declared over.

That night, clashes continued as the National Guard has been brought in to back up the police and enforce a curfew. More buildings were set on fire, including “a furniture store and a Wisconsin State Department of Corrections building.”

This second wave of revolt comes nearly three months after the initial George Floyd rebellion began. For the neoliberal capitalist class, the rebellion has been an opportunity to re-market itself to millennials and zoomers, as “hip” and “woke.” Democratic politicians, despite all their talk of “moving the party to the Left,” have made it clear that they will simply be doubling down on the politics of representation and not taking seriously even basic piecemeal policy proposals of defunding the police, while incorporating Black Lives Matter rhetoric into their campaigns. Meanwhile, Trump, the DOJ, and the RNC as a whole have doubled down not only on maintaining their fascist version of paleoconservatism, but also in projecting itself as the party of “law and order,” ironically as more people than ever from within the Trump organization are now in prison or facing federal charges. As both the DNC and the RNC play out, we can see that the table of politics is already set and there is not a place for us; both corporate parties offer the current rebellion nothing but lip-service: be it either in the form of recuperation or repression.

What the second wave of the rebellion does show, is that once again, these are organic uprisings, natural expressions of anger in the face of State repression and police violence, not cause by “out of town agitators,” or the work of foreign radicals. We would do well to remember the flood of conspiracy theories we saw play out and amplified by the far-Right and the State over the past three months, as already many of these massively discredited lies have been making a comeback on social media.

Those in the streets should not look to either party as a vehicle for their salvation, but instead to each other and other communities in struggle. As the rebellion shows no signs of stopping, hopefully things will continue to evolve, struggles will come together, and people will continue to experiment not just in the streets, but also in creating new forms of life, decision making, and meeting their needs directly.


Solidarity Marches and Actions

Seattle, WA

Portland, OR

Eugene, OR

Los Angeles, CA

San Diego, CA

Denver, CO

Cincinnati, OH

Kenosha, MN

Lincoln, NB

Omaha, NB

Chicago, IL

Carbondale, IL

Rockford, IL

Charlotte, NC


Minneapolis, MN

Detroit, MI

Madison, WI


Providence, RI

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