Arizona: Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Found Not Guilty

NEWS RELEASE
DATE: Thursday June 29, 2011
Contact: Alex Soto
Phone: 602-881-6027
Email: stopbordermilitarization@gmail.com

Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Found Not Guilty
Reaffirms Call to End Border Militarization

Chuckson (Tucson), AZ – The six protesters who locked-down and occupied the United States Border Patrol (BP) – Tucson Headquarters on May 21, 2010 were found not guilty on the remaining count of a disorderly conduct “with serious disruptive behavior” charge. The legal defense, William G. Walker and Jeffrey J. Rogers, argued that the remaining charge of disorderly conduct did not apply because it did not meet any of the statutes of the charge. After three hours of deliberation, the judge found the six not guilty.

The city prosecutor had attempted to re-introduce the previously misfiled criminal trespassing as a misdemeanor charge, but this charge was dismissed after the first trial date for the occupiers in February. After an objection by the defense, the state’s motion was denied.

“Today’s not guilty verdict shows that we, as O’odham, are not the ones who are disorderly. It is the Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, and the various levels of government that perpetrate the violence in our communities,” stated Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham, one of the protesters and member of O’odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective. “When will the institutions, whose conduct continues for more than 500 years of trespassing, that terrorize indigenous and migrants communities, be held accountable?”

“No state entity can deny peoples’ inherent right to freedom of movement,” said Marisa Duarte, one of the protesters standing trial. “Borders are a colonial weapon used to continue the genocide of indigenous people and their culture. Through trade they exploit natural resources and use the profits to further the progress of neo-liberal infrastructure projects such as CANAMEX and NAFTA. This results in the criminalization of those who defy borders through living their lives traditionally. You see the forced relocation of families from borders all around the world. Today we say no more to this criminalization of people.”

O’odham Elders and community members attended the court proceedings to demonstrate their support.

“Today we celebrate our victory in court, but understand this is just one step in ending border militarization. We took action last May in order to directly confront the issues in our communities by physically intervening and occupying the Border Patrol station.

Since that time, many have answered the call to end border militarization, and victories like today have inspired more action,” said Franco Habre.

As the six waited for the state’s decision, 16 angry community members targeted the prison firm G4S (formally Wackenhut) and were cited criminal trespassing charges. The 16 declared in no uncertain terms their opposition to the company’s profiteering at the expense of immigrant communities in Tucson, across the nation and throughout the world. Their action, which was organized autonomously by Tucson community members, was carried out under the banner of Direct Action for Freedom of Movement.

The six still stand firmly with their commitment and demands to end border militarization and their initial demands are listed below:

– Immediately withdraw National Guard Troops from the US/Mexico border

– Immediately halt development of the border wall

– Immediately remove drones and checkpoints

– Decommission all detention camps and release all presently held undocumented migrants

– Immediately honor Indigenous Peoples rights of self-determination

– Fully comply with the recently signed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

– Respect Indigenous People’s inherent right of migration

– End NAFTA, FTAA and other trade agreements

– Immediately end all CANAMEX/NAFTA Highway projects (such as the South Mountain Freeway)

– Immediately repeal SB1070 and 287g

– End all racial profiling

– No BP encroachment/sweeps on sovereign Native land

– No raids and deportations

– Immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people

– Uphold human freedom and rights

– Uphold the rights of ALL Indigenous People – repeal HB 2281, support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

– Support dignity and respect

– Support and ensure freedom of movement for all people

Soto concluded, “This action was a prayer. We’d like to thank those who stood with us during this process and to all who firmly stand with us to end border militarization. The occupation of the Border Patrol station was never about any group/organization, or us, it was about directly confronting the terror that the state unleashes upon indigenous and migrant communities, so we can critically challenge border militarization. As an O’odham, I always think back to my grandparents’ teachings: We as O’odham people have always traveled freely, regardless of the border. It’s our land, who we are, and we will defend it.”

To view the occupation video and for additional resources please visit:

http://www.oodhamsolidarity.blogspot.com

http://www.survivalsolidarity.wordpress.com

Arizona: Community organizer arrested outside of anti SB1070 rally

From Detention Watch Network:

Today, Sheriff Arpaio responded to continued acts of non-compliance by targeting and arresting human rights organizer and leader of the Phoenix-based Puente Movement, Salvador Reza.

Reza was getting in his car outside a rally across the street from the Sheriff’s jail when several Sheriff deputies surrounded him and placed him in handcuffs without cause.

Previous and unrelated to Reza’s arrest, 10+ people of conscience placed themselves in front of a caravan of Sheriff vans to block them from carrying out another raid in the community. Protestors chanted “Arrest Arpaio, Not the People” and “Not One More.”

Action Steps:

* If you’re in the Phoenix area, join us outside the jail at 35th ave & Lower Buckeye.
* If you’re outside the area, text “Arizona” to 50555 to donate $5 to the bail fund or click, http://bit.ly/azdonate
* Sign the petition, “I Stand with Sal. Free Him Now.”

With the Sheriff overstepping bounds to the point that Human Rights organizers are becoming political prisoners, what more will it take for the Obama administration to actually intervene? Free Sal Now!

* Photos are available at http://flickr.com/photos/puenteaz
* Video is available at http://youtube.com/puenteaz

Resisting SB1070: Banner drops, blockades, and occupations

From Arizona Indymedia:
July 29th Day Of Action Against SB1070
As protests occur throughout the region today, Arizona Indymedia will be compiling news, updates, and links about the protests and actions.

Also tune into 12 hours of live radio broadcasting from 10 different cities in the United States and Mexico with the participation of 15 immigrant groups/organizations fighting against the racist policies of the government of Arizona on the live stream from Free Radio Chukshon.

Tune in:
High Fi
Low Fi

# Tucson: 1:37PM Food Not Bombs serving free lunch at Granada and Congress
# 1:13PM Brown Berets occupying A Mountain despite police orders to leave. Police threatened to arrest everyone, however police have backed down for now. Park was closed for 1 hour earlier with 30 youth on the mountain. Park has been reopened.
# 10:55AM I-19 Blockade over, no arrests. Protesters used tar, tires and broken glass to shutdown interstate used for deportation. Police have cleared debris.[2]
# 10:37AM Rally at Presidio Park, started at 10AM. with speakers and music and voter registration tables, small crowd gathered there
# 10:25AM Interstate 19 southbound blocked off
# 9:50AM 300 demonstrators facing off with 100 fascists at Granada and Congress
# 9:30AM Protests have begun, over 200 people in the streets down 6th Ave
# 24-Hour Vigil began at 5pm July 28th at State Building. Protesters remained overnight and will be there till this evening.

# Phoenix: 12:38PM More non-violent protesters and media members arrested
# 12:32PM Sheriff deputies clear the entrance of the 4th Avenue Jail. Several arrests made
# 12:15PM Sheriff Joe shifts “resources” to 4th Avenue Jail. Police may be losing control. Protesters chant “arpaio racista. eres terrorista!”
# 11:45AM Protesters continued to be arrested in downtown Phoenix
# 11:10 4th Avenue Jail still blocked by protesters. Sheriff deputies have been deployed.
# 10:58AM 4th Avenue Jail blocked by protestors, Police moving quickly
# 10:49AM 100+ blockading Washington St near City Hall. Riot police moving in.
# 10:30AM Police are arresting protesters (downtown)
# 70 people block main thoroughfare in Guadalupe last night at midnight.
# Stop Hate Banner Drop Over Phoenix Wednesday Night. [2]
# Twitter updates fromPuenteAZ and AltoArizona.

Flagstaff:
Community protest planned for 4pm – Flagstaff City Hall Lawn Rt. 66 & Humphreys, Downtown Flagstaff

Other Places:
# 11:40AM LAPD is ready to arrest people on Wilshire & La Brea
# 11:10AM Wilshire @ Highland (Los Angeles) blockaded by protesters. LA Times
# Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., has closed his Yuma district office for the day after staff discovered that a bullet had shattered a window earlier Thursday. Link

Support needed for 6 people arrested at Tucson border patrol lock down

Financial support is needed for the six people who locked themselves together in the lobby of the Tucson sector border patrol office for over three hours last Friday.

In the statement released the day of the lockdown, the group demanded the end of the militarization of the border, in addition to the end of the racist SB1070 law, and the 287(g) program that allows police to act as immigration agents. As if on cue, the federal government answered today as President Obama has decided to militarize Arizona’s southern border with 1200 National Guard soldiers, and over $500 million dollars in funds. It’s clear the government, from the local, county, state, and federal levels, is declaring war on indigenous communities, immigrants, and the communities of the border states. Likewise, it’s clear that many more will stand up to the repression and terror of the authorities, and to fight for autonomy, dignity, and freedom that is under increasing attack every day.

We can’t fight alone, and we hope we won’t have to, so please consider showing solidarity to our O’odham, Dine’, Latin@, and anti-authoritarian comrades who locked down and are now facing misdemeanor trespassing and misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges. Click here to make a donation that will aid our comrades with their court fees and related expenses over the next few months.

No borders, no state, no papers!

Tucson: 15 arrested after occupation of Arizona state building

Students rally in ArizonaBreaking: On Tuesday, May 11 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed HB2281, a bill that legally prohibits ethnic studies programs from Arizona public schools, equating such classes with sedition and removing state funding from districts that offer them.

On the morning of May 12th state superintendent Tom Horne, who for years has advocated eliminating ethnic studies, tried to hold a meeting with Tucson Unified School District officials to discuss the district’s curriculum. Rumors began circulating around 10:00 a.m. among Jr. high and high school students that Horne was in Tucson to immediately “pull the plug” on their classes.

In response, more than 700 spontaneously walked-out of their classes, with participants from Rincon, Cholla, Tucson and Pueblo high schools. Students then marched to TUSD headquarters and proceeded to surround the building and blockade the entrances to prevent Horne from entering. Shortly thereafter, school district officials canceled their meeting, claiming that Horne, who is running for state Attorney General, had turned it into “a political event”.

After learning that the meeting was canceled, about 200 among those gathered left TUSD and marched through downtown Tucson to the Arizona state building, where Horne was scheduled to hold a press conference at 2pm. More than a hundred entered and occupied the building lobby, and fifteen were ultimately arrested for refusing to leave.

In addition to HB2281, student demonstrators spoke out against SB1070 and SB1097, a bill that would force school districts to check the legal status of all students and eliminate public funding for those undocumented. A statement was circulated at the rally encouraging others around the country to engage in protests and direct action on Friday, May 14 in solidarity with students in Arizona.