Police riot; beat, pepper spray, and arrest protesters
January 11, 2009
Today, more than 15,000 people rallied in Times Square to protest Israel’s ongoing assault against the people of Palestine . The demonstration stretched from 42nd Street south to 38 Street, along 7th Ave , and was followed by a spirited march past the New York Times building to the Time Warner building on 58th Street where CNN’s New York office is located.
Organizers reported provocative and hostile police behavior throughout the event. Police massed at the end of the march route began cursing, taunting and attacking protesters. One uniformed cop was reported as yelling, “Why don’t you all blow yourselves up?”
Eyewitnesses reported that the police used pepper spray in an unprovoked assault on the protesters including teenagers and children as young as ten years old. Others
were pushed and struck by police.
At least 30 people were arrested during the day, and everyone who was arrested was beaten by police, some severely. Most were arrested while simply trying to leave
at the end of the march, when police charged and began arresting and beating people.
One provocateur grabbed a Palestinian flag and began trampling on it. When onlookers attempted to retrieve the flag, they were attacked and nine were arrested.
Organizers are reporting that the attacks and arrests clearly targeted Arab youth. Lamis Deek, human rights attorney and co-chair of Al-Awda New York, said, “The
systematic pattern of attacks and provocations and the sudden appearance of police amass at the end of the march were clearly a message from City Hall. This was clearly orchestrated and planned to try to attempt to intimidate and silence the mass protests that have taken place here, and will continue to take place. But these tactics will not keep us off the streets. We outnumbered the rally in support of Israel ‘s crimes by a hundred to one.”
As this is being written, march organizers have received reports that an undetermined number of people, including children, are still being held by the NYPD.
Organizers plan to pack the courtroom at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan at 9 am tomorrow morning when some of those arrested are being arraigned.
Source / Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition