Detroit will make a statement against the oppression of the Palestinian movement

In light of the brutal attacks on the Palestinian movement in recent days and weeks, Left Voice will republish the statements of various groups against the repression. Today we share the statement from Detroit Will Breathe, a group that emerged from Black Lives Matter mobilizations in Detroit.

Stop the attacks on the right to protest!

The right to protest is under attack in Detroit.

In recent months, nonviolent protests organized in support of Palestine have been systematically harassed and prosecuted by the Detroit Police Department (DPD). Police have targeted not only protest participants and protest leaders, but also legal observers (LO) belonging to the National Lawyers Guild – an organization whose role is to document the actions of law enforcement, especially those actions that later could be prosecuted criminally or civilly. legal consequences such as arrest or detention, use of force, intimidating displays of force, denial of access to public spaces such as parks and sidewalks, and any other behavior that appears to limit the ability of protesters to express their political views.

One of the most recent incidents of police harassment on April 15 resulted in the prosecution and arrest of protesters by Detroit police while disrupting a car caravan operation. DPD has drawn up at least 38 citations and seized 18 cars that participated in the caravan.

On April 12, Michigan Social Workers for Palestine (MS4P) held a rally and march at the offices of Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters in support of Palestine and in solidarity with Palestinian social workers. Eight participants, including LOs and marshals, were arrested and issued arbitrary fines and a misdemeanor charge by DPD as they attempted to retrieve their belongings and return to their cars.

These cases of repression follow similar intimidation tactics used by police on March 2 against protesters in downtown Detroit, as well as in other Michigan cities such as Ann Arbor, Warren and Bloomfield Hills, and on college campuses such as the University of Michigan and Wayne . State University.

Currently, we are witnessing national outrage over the brutal suppression of student camps and protests on college campuses across the country. Students who lead and participate in these protests are making demands that challenge the status quo, and as a result, they are punished with police brutality and expulsion. At the same time, the frequency and intensity of police harassment of protesters in Detroit continues to increase.

As the 2020 uprisings showed, DPD is more than capable of stepping up repression in a similar manner And than what student activists experience in encampments. The continued police crackdown on protests is a method used to silence dissent and take away constitutional rights. Furthermore, specifically targeting LOs is a way to prevent the truth about their activities from being documented, and punishes LOs for ensuring that the right to protest is protected.

Detroiters have a long and proud history of protesting in the streets. This escalating police response is an attempt to minimize the ways in which the working class and the oppressed can express our power and dissent. This cannot be tolerated. There is blatant hypocrisy in a police system that claims to protect and maintain the safety of the public, and in turn uses violence and other nefarious means to suppress protesters who use their constitutional rights to demand an end to the genocide .

Therefore, we, the undersigned, condemn police repression around the world and call for all charges against protesters and legal observers to be dropped and for the DPD to stop violating the rights of pro-Palestinian protesters. We unapologetically support the students and community members taking a stand in student camps and other protests nationwide. We have the right to organize and resist all forms of oppression. Together we can work towards a more just world. Support us in this important battle.