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News and reports

April 28, 2006 | Pages 14 and 15

Protest George Bush
Protest Pat Buchanan

Prosecute police torture
By Noreen McNulty

CHICAGO--The Campaign to End the Death Penalty and other organizations brought together more than 70 people to demand the prosecution of a former police officer charged with overseeing the torture of more than 130 Black men.

The event also marked the fourth anniversary of the appointment of special prosecutor Edward Egan, who was assigned to investigate allegations of police torture by Chicago police officers under the command of former Lt. Jon Burge.

Outside the special prosecutor's office, activists chanted "Jail Jon Burge" and "Justice delayed is justice denied" while community leaders spoke to the press--including Rev. Calvin Morris of the Community Renewal Society; Larry Kennon, an attorney and petitioner for the appointment; and Greta Holmes of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.

"Bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice," read an open letter delivered to Egan's office calling on Egan to indict the police officers involved. "The perpetrators should be punished and the victims deserve freedom or new trials." After four years of investigation, "The question now is whether or not this appointment was for the purpose of covering up," said Kennon.

For years, police on the South Side of Chicago tortured suspects into coerced confessions. More than 130 victims of torture--all African American--endured electro-shock, severe beatings, suffocation, and/or burns at the hands of Burge and the racist cops under his command.

To this day, many of their victims remain behind bars, wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Some were even sent to death row--four men were pardoned and others on death row had their sentences commuted to life by former Gov. George Ryan in 2003.

"Jon Burge is free," said Greta Holmes. "He lives in Florida, and he's enjoying life. The victims who he tortured are still in jail, and this is not justice. Justice delayed is justice denied, and we want justice now."

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Protest George Bush
By Jenny Olsen

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--A few thousand people converged in front of the California Fuel Cell Partnership Building here to protest President Bush on April 22.

A day earlier, a crowd of 1,000 students and community members forced Bush to move his meeting with some Stanford professors off campus to the private residence of former Secretary of State George Schultz.

Bush arrived in Sacramento for an Earth Day photo opportunity to promote alternative energy sources to oil. Protesters gathered to expose the hypocrisy of the president's call for environmental saving policies while waging a destructive war that is killing an entire country's ecosystem.

"Coal is not an alternative resource and there is no alternative to human life," said Ellen Mitchell, a member of Code Pink and Davis Students Against the War. Protesters carried signs reading, "Go solar, not ballistic," and "U.S. out of Iraq, Bush out of West Sac." Protesters also made the connection between Bush's war on Iraq and the war on immigrants in this country.

Organizers encouraged people to join in the May 1 national boycott and protest against anti-immigrant legislation at the Capitol.

During the Stanford protest, the crowd chanted, "Hey-Hey-Ho-Ho-Bush is here, he's got to go." At one point, the police tried to clear the streets, but students refused to comply and 50 more cops in full riot gear were called in.

The event inspired many onlookers, including many prospective students visiting campus for the first time. "I thought Stanford was really a bubble, but seeing all the people that are out here has shown me that people really are concerned," said incoming freshman Alejandra Aponte. "I'm from Guatemala. Right now, President Bush is doing some very interesting things in Latin America. We have a phrase, 'For every pig, there will be a Saturday.' Basically, his game is over."

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Protest Pat Buchanan
By Nicole Grieco and Matt Richman

EWING, N.J.--Reactionary political figure Pat Buchanan was paid $15,002 to speak last week at the College of New Jersey, but the ultra-conservative's arrival was greeted with a protest of more than 50 students outside the lecture hall--far more than those who showed up to support him.

Many protestors wore black in a show of solidarity, while others held up pro-immigration signs. Several times during the 40-minute rally, the group chanted slogans like, "Racist, sexist, anti-gay--Pat Buchanan, go away!" while security guards and a handful of College Republicans looked on.

To mobilize for the protest, activists papered campus with fliers featuring some of Buchanan's "best" racist and homophobic quotes.

Buchanan's lecture was mainly an indictment of the Bush administration for not being "conservative" enough. He hit on topics like the war and the economy, but saved his most virulent remarks for immigration.

During the question-and-answer period, the majority of students asked pointed and confrontational questions to expose Buchanan's bigotry. It was in this segment that he railed against "political correctness" and quoted the infamous "Bell Curve" study to suggest racial IQ differences.

The event was a major success in bringing together a more vocal and unified left at the college.

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