Arizona: Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Found Not Guilty

DATE: Thursday June 29, 2011
Contact: Alex Soto
Phone: 602-881-6027

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:

Border Patrol 6 trial resumes this month, trespassing charges dropped

The six people arrested for locking down at the Tucson sector Border Patrol headquarters last May are going back to court to resume their trial on the remaining disorderly conduct charges. The Border Patrol 6 (BP6) havecalled for continued action against all levels of government and business participating in the repression of immigrant communities and the ongoing militarization of the border. At their last trial date in February, dozens of people, from various communities across the state, rallied in solidarity with the BP6 and marched against all borders and the ongoing militarization of Tohono O’odham land, which has been colonized by both the US and Mexican governments.

Since February, the judge has thrown out all of the criminal trespassing charges against all six defendants, leaving just the disorderly conduct charges for the resumption of their trial on June 29th in Tucson. Whether or not the remaining charges are also thrown out, the BP6 have maintained that the previous trespassing charges were always bogus since the true trespassers are the border patrol and the state who occupy stolen indigenous land.

Keep your eyes peeled in the coming days for an official update from the BP6 comrades, but in the meanwhile, there’s nothing gained in waiting! Take a look back at the previous BP6 calls for support and get organized to take action!

No borders, no controls on movement!


Border Patrol 6 Trial Begins

February 24, 2011

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON – Protesters who locked-down at Border Patrol headquarters in Tucson were in court on Wednesday. In the streets, two more protesters were arrested as O’odham and others demanded an end to border militarization, racist laws in Arizona and the US government’s reign of terror.

More than 40 protesters took to the streets and two were arrested, while six people who locked-down and occupied the US Border Patrol Tucson Headquarters on May 21, went on trial to fight charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

Indigenous in the struggle for justice released a communiqué calling for an end to the reign of terror on the border created by the US government and carried out by the Border Patrol and immigration agents.

“This terror manifests with the bones of thousands – making the southern Arizona desert a graveyard, where the hopes and dreams of migrant families are stomped into the ground by border patrol agents, National Guard, Minutemen, and profiteering coyotes. Through the military strategy of terror and fear the state maintains power and control,” stated the communiqué.

O’odham, whose graves and communities have been desecrated and destroyed by border militarization, sent this message to the Border Patrol: “We are not afraid.”

Read the rest here, including a communique by the Border Patrol 6