For the second time, people in Tacoma attempted to spread awareness not about something abstract but something very real. Something which exists at the bottom of the steep Tacoma hills. Something which, once seen by the eyes, is unforgettable. For the second time, we were met with blunt, crude repression. No one was out there to smash anything up. We were out there to let people know that this something, the Northwest Detention Center, did in fact exist.
The day began with a rally at People's Park in which any who wished to were allowed to speak. Most of the hour before the march was filled up with people talking on a megaphone about what they knew of the detention center. While people were speaking a cop who denied being a cop took pictures with not one but two telescopic cameras. Later a line of bike cops appeared behind him and waited.
The march started and people stepped off the sidewalk and into the street. The bike cops arrived and told people to get on the street. No one listened and the march continued down MLK before heading towards downtown. The crowd, mostly made up of anarchists and a wide variety of others (including our old friends the Seattle Anti-Imperialist League?) passed by local businesses and hangouts. People raised their fists and people raised their fists back. When the black clad anarchists flipped off the police, everyone watching from the sidewalks laughed and smiled. The police rule only by violence and fear in Hilltop. Violence and fear cannot make people like them.
Near the National Guard Armory, the bike cops attempted to apprehend members of the march. This attempt was thwarted, but it did put everyone on the sidewalk for the rest of the day. After that, everyone headed towards the County Jail. And then the riot police showed up. They formed a line blocking the sidewalk. Being surrounded, people turned around and went the other way, leaving the slow moving riot cops behind. The riot police got in their rented mini-vans and continued to creep around the city, waiting for a chance to attack us.
The march wove its way past the Tacoma Municipal Building. In this building the city council meets to discuss its plans to make more money for themselves. This building was paint bombed earlier in the week in response to the intended closure of the the MLK homeless shelter. Streaks and blobs of green paint covered the old entrance way of the building.
After reaching the bottom of the hill, we went to the Wells Fargo tower. Wells Fargo is one of the largest financiers of the GEO Group, the contractor which runs the detention center. Like the time before, the base of the tower was surrounded with riot police. Finding it a bad idea to stop moving, the group began to play games with the police. Wherever we went, the police went. And everyone saw them in all of their fascist splendor.
Earlier in the day it was learned that the 11th Street Bridge had been raised. No could remember the last time the bridge had been raised. Boats requiring the raising of the bridge do not travel down that waterway anymore. Wanting to highlight this fact and show everyone how terrified the police are of us, we went to the bridge, dropped a banner over the freeway and posed for a picture in front of this impediment. This raised bridge was a symbol of the lengths they are willing to go to stop us from conveying a simple message: a concentration camp exists in the tide flats. With the barbed wire and cages in the background, we stood there and cursed at the pigs.
As we returned to Hilltop everyone began to vent their rage. People shook the fence around the County Jail and screamed from the top of their lungs at the cops. People taunted, humiliated and spit at the twisted, perverted creatures following us. Everyone was sick of seeing everything go to shit around them. And so the march continued to torment the police and drug them up the steep slopes, making them sweat.
When we got to Neighbors Park, a European-style park in the center of four city blocks, the bike cops attacked. They went after someone who was holding a drug and then tackles someone next to them. The crowd moved in and encircled the police. In the park behind this, mothers quickly got their kids off the play structures and hurried them away from the newly arrived riot police. All of a sudden there was a police line in the middle of the neighborhood. The cops cut the march into two groups and then began to seal off the park. Everyone dispersed shortly after that. THERE WERE TOO FEW PEOPLE to do anything to prevent or defend against this attack.
Everyone returned to People's Park and found themselves still followed by the police. Not wanting to leave in small groups, everyone walked to the nearby Pitch Pipe Infoshop. People rested, gathered information and then left once the police were long gone. While this happened, ALL of the neighborhood got to see squads of riot police moving through their streets. Everyone knew the score and knew who they hated. I personally heard a young girl yelling that the police were killing people. Children will grow up with what happened in the park etched into their minds.
As I write this, the two people who were taken have been released, one on bail, one because they were a minor. Both of them were in high school. One of them is being charged with felony assault. They were carrying a stick for their drum. Apparently they were going to hit someone with it. Anyone in the area who wishes to support them should attend any benefit shows that are organized or send money to the Pitch Pipe Infoshop.
No matter what we do, no matter what we are fighting 'for', we are treated the same by the police. They do not care about any of us. It is time for more of us to act. I do not know what else to say.
Thank you to everyone who came out and everyone who helped. See you all next time...
Link To Pictures And Report Back:
Link To Timeline:
Link To Paintbombing Communique: