It’s 11:07 on a Sunday morning, and yet again the 27 Social Centre in Northwest Denver is full of people. Folks are talking to imprisoned comrades on the phone, coordinating with court observers who just left a long bond hearing for 20 arrestees, entering yet more names and case numbers into online databases, and trying to feed each other and take care of our kids.
Police have been rolling by slowly and regularly, in increasing regularity on the streets surrounding our building. We tend to get a lot of roll by cop traffic, but today definitely feels different. They drive really slow, eyeballing everyone and anyone coming or going, and their numbers only seem to be increasing.
Last night, 21 more folks from Occupy Denver were arrested. Crowds were pepper sprayed, shot with pepper balls and rubber “less-lethal” rounds, and beaten with batons and fists. Street medics treated many injuries (yet again) and our legal observers reported many gross attacks on individuals, some not even affiliated with the demonstrations.
When we sent members of our organization to start bonding our prisoners out of jail, they were told they could not bond anyone out. Their bond amounts had been set, we had the money, but we were not allowed to post the money to free our comrades. First, the jail was locked down, with actual chain and padlocks barring entry to the lobby. After the lockdown, our team was told to return in an hour and they could start the bonding processes. However, when they returned, they were told that they would not be accepting bonds, and that the computer system that they used for processing background checks was conveniently broken. We were told to call back and check. In an act that didn’t surprise us at all, repeated phone calls throughout the night and early morning went unanswered.
Today, at the bond hearings that happened at 8am, every single prisoner’s bond was increased. Some prisoners saw their bonds increased by 3 to 5 times the amounts that they were at just hours ago. Felony assault charges were added to several of the arrestees, the ones (again, in an unsurprising move) who were the most injured or brutalized during their arrests.
Before the hearing, in an unprecedented move for bond hearings we have attended, our courtroom observers were barred from bringing pens or any writing implement to even record what was happening inside the hearing. Typically, phones must be turned off and hats removed before entering the courtroom. These items were banned wholesale from even entering the hearing room. This move seems calculated to make it even harder to support our comrades. When your trying to record new bond amounts for over 20 arrestees, pens are invaluable. Today, our observers scratched onto pieces of paper with their fingernails. This is just another battle in this much larger war.
We are working now to raise all the money necessary to bond out our comrades. Over the course of 6 weeks, we’ve been able to raise thousands of dollars to bond out dozens of people in need of bonding. We are now supporting over 90 arrestees from the last 6 weeks. If funds and resources were stretched to near breaking just two weeks ago, things now are beyond breaking. Our volunteer legal crew is tapped out. Out of energy. Out of time. Out of money. Out of resources. But yet, even in this overwhelming environment, they have not tapped out our will to fight.
On Friday night, Denver ABC hosted our 3rd annual Martyr’s Ball fundraiser. It was the most successful to date. The support and resources we raised went a long way to keeping up our will to fight.
This is a war. And our side is being hammered by an overwhelming police state hellbent on destroying social movements fighting for popular power and direct control over our lives. But, we’re fighting like hell. And we’re gaining ground. That’s why the state is fighting back as hard as they can. They have to crush us. Because we are a threat to everything they’re struggling to maintain their control over.
So, yet again, DABC and Occupy Denver need your support!
1) Donate to the bond fund:
By mail: Checks made out to David Strano, sent to P&L Printing, 2727 W 27th Ave Unit D Denver, CO 80211
By email/internet: Paypal money to firstname.lastname@example.org
In person: Bring money or donations to the 27 Social Centre at 2727 W. 27th Ave
We’ve been saying this a lot, and we’ve been bad about following up, but really, the best way to volunteer to help is to show up at the 27 Social Centre. Especially today. We’re trying to raise kids, do laundry, and do the normal things folks do, even in times of protracted social conflict…. all while raising bond money, meeting with lawyers and bondspeople, picking folks up from jail, and fielding phone calls from prisoners, family members, friends, media, and others.
3) Drop off food and other resources
We could use snack foods, dinner items, sandwich materials, etc… to feed the legal volunteers, as well as folks getting out of jail.
4) Contact us with creative ideas of how to help!
In love and solidarity!