On January 16, 2010, thousands of people took to the streets to show support for immigrants and to oppose Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. From the onset of the march, a group of marchers were targeted by the Phoenix PD, marching under the banner of an indigenous, anti-authoritarian, and allies contingent. As the march proceeded, the police became increasingly violent, leading to a final planned attack executed against the contingent and other protesters in the vicinity, as the march neared its end. Officers on horseback rode into the crowd, injuring some; then deploying large amounts of pepper spray throughout the area. This resulted in five of our comrades being kidnapped out of the group, brutalized and arrested. Although we are happy to announce that the charges against two of the arrestees have been scratched, the remaining three are now facing felony charges for “assaulting an officer”.
The Arpaio 5 Support Committee is a group of friends and supporters of the arrestees who have come together to help raise much needed awareness and legal funds.
What occurred on the January 16, demonstrates the violence that becomes inevitable when armed thugs are invited or allowed to be present at our protests or in our community. While our first priority is to ensure that our comrades do not face any further jail time, we hope that this also serves as a general call for further actions challenging any and all police presence; which we know only serves to protect an inherently racist and oppressive system.
This attack is not in isolation, but rather is part of a systematic attempt to repress any ideas which are vocalized or acted upon that encourage or manifest actualized resistance within our communities. We must be ready to support those who are targeted for continuing to fight despite these threats during the current and upcoming struggle. By forming community solidarity in response to this instance of repression, we create a framework that provides a base for further organizing against the police state, while also making the statement that we will not allow state sanctioned intimidation to silence and divide our movement.
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