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Police Attack Protesters With Mace, Tazers to Keep Them Out of City Hall
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net (email address validated)

First locked out of their homes for more than 2 years, and now locked out of the very City Council meeting in which the city’s politicians are set to vote for tearing down their homes, residents and activist today were attacked by police to keep them from entering the City Council chambers.

Police Attack Protes...
header.jpg, image/jpeg, 1200x450

Police Attack Protesters With Mace, Tazers to Keep Them Out of City Hall:
Council to vote on demolishing 5000 affordable homes

Thursday December 19, 2007

The scene was described by many as a microcosm of everything that’s wrong in the city and America. The whole situation has been referred to as “high noon,” and “do or die time.” It’s decision day for public housing in New Orleans.

Underneath New Orleans City Hall, a huge office building topped with a neon casino-style sign, milled a growing group of public housing residents and supporters. They had arrived for the 10am Council meeting to speak against the demoltion of affordable homes. They were locked out and told to “go home.” The City Council is expected to vote in approval of demolishing more than 5000 public housing units in 4 developments across the city today. The majority of the council has already pledged publicly to rubber stamp HUD’s highly controversial plans.

Locked out of the council chambers the protestors were quickly surrounded with dozens of police. Behind them stood eight horse-mounted police, and behind the gate keeping them out of the hall were many more heavily armed officers. Right in front of City Hall, behind the protesters is Duncan Plaza, which has been turned into an enormous homeless camp. Many Duncan Plaza residents came over to show their support for the cause. There are more than 12,000 homeless in the city today. Inside the chambers, the City Council proceeded.

First locked out of their homes for more than 2 years, and now locked out of the very City Council meeting in which the city’s politicians are set to vote for tearing down their homes, many of the residents began pleading with the officers to be allowed in. Pleading turned quickly to outrage as it was clear that the process would move forward without their voices or even witness. Receiving phone calls from their allies inside the chambers, the protesters were told that the Council meeting was being held up by chants and clapping until everyone was allowed inside. The Council members refused and called on their security forces to clear out the chambers.

In the desperation the group outside began shaking the large metal gates locking them out. The gate was easily broken open. Police moved in with pepper spray and batons, quickly beating back anyone near the entrance. Chants of “housing is a human right,” and “justice!” filled the air along with the putrid smell of the chemical weapons used by the NOPD. The gate was re-secured with handcuffs this time. Again the protesters chanted and demanded entrance. Some called into question the legitimacy of a “public” meeting in which the public was excluded.

As they pushed against the gates it suddenly became clear that something was happening inside the chambers. Dozens of police quickly sprinted into the building with their hands on their weapons. Outside this sparked concern among those gathered who began to slam against the gate once more. An ambulance arrived in the compound and a stretcher was taken into the building. Police would not communicate with those outside as to what was happening in the chambers. Protesters in the building began calling their allies and reporting that the police were forcefully clearing the room. It is confirmed by housing advocate Jay Arena that he, Malcolm Suber, Sess 4-5, and Endesha Jukali were arrested along with others. It is reported but not yet confirmed that Sess was tazered.

Outside the protesters again managed to break through the gates and pulled one side of it away from the officers. The police moved in and attempted to pull the gate back. Then came the pepper spray and tazers, this time much more forceful. At least two women were struck with tazers. On of them was simultaneously hit with spray and tazer and then smashed between the pavement and metal gate. She was rushed away from the scene by friends who treated her nearby until an ambulance could be found. Here medical condition is unknown at this time. Another woman, Bork, the same activists who yesterday chained herself to a building at BW Cooper was tazered and taken away in an ambulance. The police fanned chemical weapons out over the entire crowd hitting dozens in the face and eyes.

Activists from the Coalition to Stop Demolition have put out a national call to allies: come to New Orleans, help stop demolition, take nonviolent direct action. The struggle, after today continues, but it has become glaringly apparent the lengths to which the City Council and their allies will go to tear down homes.


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Sam Jackson and NAACP member at the gate, refused entry
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net

Sam Jackson and NAAC...
samnaacp.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

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Several pub. housing residents and Bill Quigley outside
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net

Several pub. housing...
quigleyresidents.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

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Washing out eyes after being maced
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net

Washing out eyes aft...
medics.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

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At the gate
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net

QuickTime movie at 23.5 mebibytes

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Police open up with spray
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net

QuickTime movie at 15.9 mebibytes

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Why demolition = crime
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net

QuickTime movie at 30.8 mebibytes

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It ain't right
by Darwin BondGraham Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
darwin@riseup.net

QuickTime movie at 21.3 mebibytes

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 11 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Need Housing Dan Fitzgerald Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008 at 5:14 AM
City Council Catfish Tuesday, Jan. 01, 2008 at 7:49 AM
Its all part of it & Rufus Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007 at 3:54 PM
DISGRACEFUL? OH YEAH! LINDA SAFLEY Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007 at 5:51 PM
time to go julius striecher Monday, Dec. 24, 2007 at 10:15 AM
JW - get over it Ted Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007 at 8:27 PM
Not right! JW Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 6:45 PM
Good work - what next? Brent Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 2:44 PM
The Fabulous Nicki Cole Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 10:42 AM
Bork? Chuck Munson Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 10:41 PM


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