Live Blog: Occupy Movement’s National Day of Action for Prisoners
UPDATE – 3:39 PM ET Photo of Occupy Oakland’s action outside San Quentin prison right now (via @OakFoSho)
The Occupy movement is holding a national day of action in support of prisoners. This post will be following the actions as they unfold. Updates will be posted regularly through the rest of the afternoon and evening.
The national day of action appears to have started with a call to Occupy San Quentin that was put out by Occupy Oakland. A handbill said the action would be “in solidarity with those behind prison walls, their loved ones, and formerly incarcerated people.” Additionally, it said, “These communities ask that the spirit of solidarity create a safe space for all on February 20th.”
The action received several endorsements from Michelle Alexander, Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, the Oscar Grant Committee, etc. It inspired other Occupy groups to plan their own actions.
Here is a list of many of the actions that were planned for today.
Baltimore has planned a “noise demonstration” at 8 pm tonight. Chicago will march from the Chicago Board of Trade to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to push the message that the “mass incarceration of poor people, who are disproportionately people of color, is misdirected, racist and inhumane.” Fresno will call for more community-based rehabilitation for prisoners. New York will march in solidarity with the prisoners of Pelican Bay, who have engaged in hunger strikes throughout the past year.
Statements from prisoners were collected. They received a statement of support from Leonard Peltier, a political prisoner who is serving two life sentences for shooting two FBI agents and who Amnesty International believes received an unfair trial:
…Today in the shadow of San Quentin, the belly of the beast housing 700 men the state wants to kill, you come together to speak of injustice and reform. While they will not come out and say it, I have been given a life sentence for a crime I did not commit. I defended my people from a government waging war on defenseless elders and traditional believers. Many friends of mine died in that war, and because two FBI agents also died, I have been in jail for 36 years. I have been held despite evidence the government withheld and manipulated evidence, coerced witnesses, and did all they could do to keep me from proving my innocence. I have been held longer than their own laws say I should be. All because I am a symbol and a reminder of what they will do to anyone who stands up against their authority. But all this shows is that they only have violent access to authority. They do not have righteousness or decency or even legality on their side. Throughout history all such systems that ignored justice and rights to rule by force eventually fell…
Below the fold are live stream videos of Occupy Oakland’s action currently unfolding outside San Quentin prison. Watch occupiers take a stand for prisoners and stay tuned to this blog for updates on the action: [cont’d]
Stay tuned for updates, which will appear at the top of the post.