Spontaneous Protest Against Cyclist Harrassment During Bookfair
Monday, Nov. 09, 2009 at 1:15 PM
On Sunday, November 8, 2009, the New Orleans Bookfair was in full swing, with blocks of tables full of local independent, radical, and alternative literature. A cop had been crusing the scene, stopping to stare at punk-looking musicians and kids in the bouncey castle, making several passes as the festive day unfolded.
On Sunday, November 8, 2009, the New Orleans Bookfair was in full swing, with blocks of tables full of local independent, radical, and alternative literature. A cop had been crusing the scene, stopping to stare at punk-looking musicians and the kids in the bouncey castle (pedophiles on the force?), making several passes down the street the fair was held on as the festive day unfolded.
Like a hyena marauding at the edges of the event, he eventually pounced, stopping a bicyclist for riding the wrong way down the street, which was being peacefully untilized by walking customers, bicyclists, musicians, and cars all giving each other the space they needed up to that point. The officer stopped his car in the middle of the street, in the middle of the fair, and blocked traffic for over 30 minutes while he proceeded to slowly write a ticket to an unfortunate one of the dozens of people riding up and down the street on bicycles in both directions.
This cop was mistaken in thinking he could get away with his harrassment of cyclists unchallenged, and soon a crowd gathered to witness and confront this blatent harrassment. Chants began of "Stop Police Harrassment" and "Riding a bike is not a crime," as bookfair attendees, neighbors, and onlookers joined in. Soon the cop was facing a crowd of dozens, clapping, chanting, and exposing the routine function of the police as arbitrary bullies, enforcing the law and order that they choose to enforce, against the poor, against cyclists, and against alternative cultures.
The cop was completely shamed, humiliated, and embarrassed, as not one person in the crowd of hundreds of onlookers supported his actions. He further, and thanks to the spontanteous protest, publicly, deligitmized the role of the police in New Orleans for hundreds of people.
The unemployed man, who the cop thought would be an easy target, was grateful for the support he recieved, and local anarchists pldged to stay in touch and bring a full courtroom to his hearing, as well as helping him pay his ticket if he is convicted.
His court date is set for Decemeber 23rd, and New Orleans bicyclists, anarchists, and anti-prison industrial complex activists will be there to see this fight to its finish and show the cops that harrassment of bicyclists and poor people in our city will not be tolerated.
To stay informed and get the details of the court-hearing, join the NOLA-anarchists email group:
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