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News and reports

October 13, 2006 | Page 11

Fight racism and police brutality
No to war and occupation

Stop the Minutemen

CHICAGO--More than 150 immigrant rights activists met the racist Illinois Minutemen Project (IMP) with chants of "Hitler rose and Hitler fell! Minutemen go to hell!" on October 7.

The IMP held its action against the Mexican Consulate as part of a so-called "National Day of Action" to stop the "invasion" of immigrant workers. The Web site for the action featured a racist cartoon of Latino workers depicted as the "seven dwarves."

Even though the Minutemen never mustered a crowd of more than a dozen, police forced dozens of antiracist protesters who arrived earlier to make room for them in front of the consulate. But the Minutemen left without accomplishing their goal of spreading hatred in Chicago--with dozens of antiracists celebrating their departure.

This was the second IMP protest at the Mexican Consulate--and this time, the racists had even fewer forces than last time, when nearly 200 immigrant rights activists confronted around two-dozen Minutemen and the racist Paul Revere Riders.

Immigrant rights activists also drew the connection between the fight against far-right organizations like the Minutemen and the broader struggle for immigrant and workers' rights, such as the recent mass turnout against a proposed anti-immigrant law in nearby Carpentersville.

As one protester remarked, workers shouldn't be penalized for crossing imaginary lines, drawn by politicians, to provide for themselves and their families. Protesters vowed to confront the IMP the next time they showed their heads at the Mexican Consulate--or anywhere else in Chicago.

Carole Ramsden, Orlando Sepulveda and Adam Turl and contributed to this report.

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Fight racism and police brutality
By Steven Wyatt and Martin Smith

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.--A multiracial crowd of 150 gathered here October 7 for the third annual Unity March aimed at ending racism and police brutality.

The march went through the Garden Hills neighborhood, a community sharply affected by discrimination and poverty. Champaign is divided by a color line that separates this African American community on the northwest side by railroad tracks.

With signs and banners held high, people marched through the streets, because there are no sidewalks in this neglected part of town. Residents say that they are frequently given jaywalking tickets as part of their daily experience of police harassment.

Along the way, protesters stopped at points where police had brutalized members of the neighborhood, resting for a moment of silence to remember victims of police injustice. This past summer, a Black man was chased by several police officers and rammed by a police vehicle for merely possessing a gun.

In the past two years alone, five Black men have allegedly committed suicide while in police custody in Champaign, though community members believe they were the victims of police wrongdoing. Black drivers make up one-third of all traffic stops in the city, while they are only 12 percent of the population.

The march ended with a rally in a park, where people were encouraged to get involved in the struggle for justice.

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No to war and occupation
By Steve Leigh

SEATTLE--More than 2,000 people marched October 5 calling for people to "Drive out the Bush regime!"

Starting in the morning with a rally of 300 at the University of Washington, the crowd took over streets on the way to Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill, where it swelled to 2,000 by midday. Among other speakers, Sara Rich, mother of war resister Suzanne Swift, spoke about her daughter's case and her opposition to the Iraq war.

From there, the march went on to the Federal Building downtown for an evening rally and an all night sit-in at the Federal Building Plaza. Those who participated were united in their opposition to the Bush regime, but beyond that there were many differences about what should come next for the left.

Speakers from the Backbone Campaign and Progressive Democrats of America stressed the idea of electing a Democratic Congress to impeach Bush. Others, including socialists and activists in the campaign of Green Party member Aaron Dixon for U.S. Senate, called for independence from both corporate parties and for struggle to bring about real social change.

Organizers promised future rallies and marches to keep the pressure up.

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