Tacoma rallies for Peltier

May 25, 2011

TACOMA, Wash.--Approximately 100 activists turned out for a regional support rally for Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier on May 21.

Peltier, a Native American activist, was falsely convicted in the shooting deaths of two FBI agents during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on June 26, 1975. He has languished in federal prison ever since, despite failing health and strong evidence of his innocence.

Supporters, including members of the Evergreen State College Native Student Alliance and Pierce County Jobs with Justice, marched three miles from a park at the eastside of Tacoma to the Federal building downtown. Protesters held signs reading "Justice for Peltier" and "Free all political prisoners."

At the federal building, a petition was circulated for clemency or a full pardon for Leonard. Long-time Native American rights activist Ramona Bennett of the Puyallup Tribe recounted the biases that pervaded Leonard's trial and talked about her friendship with Leonard when he lived in nearby Seattle.

Although no action has been taken by government officials on previous petitions for clemency or the push for a pardon for Peltier, his supporters vow to continue the fight until Leonard is free.

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