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POLICE BRUTALITY against 15 Arab American youth in SF*

What started off as a peaceful demonstration on March 21st, 2009 ended in severe police brutality and arrests of innocent young Arab Americans in the streets of San Francisco
POLICE BRUTALITY against 15 Arab American youth in SF*

What started off as a peaceful demonstration on March 21st, 2009 ended in
severe police brutality and arrests of innocent young Arab Americans in the
streets of San Francisco. Young Arab Americans turned out in record numbers
this year compared to the last 6 years of demonstrations against the war on
Iraq. They marched along with the International League of People's Struggles
Contingent at the end of the demonstration and filled in the civic center.
When an 8 year old Arab boy was grabbed by San Francisco police for
allegedly carrying rocks in his backpack, young members of the Arab
community intervened by first attempting to speak with police and retrieve
the boy. After the police expressed an immense distaste for negotiating or
discussing anything with the Arab American teenagers, a young Palestinian
woman wrapped her arms around the boy to console him as he cried and to
protect him from being taken by police.

The police agreed to allow the boy to go and the young woman and boy walked
down the street. As I stared at the police, the young woman and the boy to
ensure their security, I then saw a team of officers snatch the boy out of
the young woman's arms dropping her and another young woman immediately to
the floor using batons and excessive force. As the crowd of young Arab
Americans stared on an immediate sense of shock and urgency emerged in which
members of the crowd tried to cross the barrier to pick up the two women off
the floor and protect the young screaming child. As I ran in shock toward
the child a police officer slammed the barrier with his baton about an inch
away from my elbow. I then stared shocked and put my hands up as he jammed
his baton across my mid section dropping me to the ground. From the ground I
looked up only to find another officer slamming his baton onto the the
previously broken arm of an Arab American boy. The Police were swinging
batons excessively knocking down only who appeared to be of Arab descent to
the ground. About ten Arab American youth were brutally attacked by police
as they screamed "back up" while they surrounded the crowd of activist by a
mob of officers turning the screaming, angry and fearful crowd into an
enclave of police brutality. The police officers pushed the barriers hard
and fast jamming them into the stomachs of the youth at the front lines.
Police arrested three and about an hour later sealed the entrances of the
Civic Center Bart Station detaining six young Arab American men lining them
up against a wall and later arresting them. Several youth went home injured
or to the hospital in ambulances.

The Arab American community in the Bay Area is deeply saddened by this
incident and is steadfast on holding those accountable for police brutality
against innocent civilians. However before we can embark on this pursuit of
justice, it is our responsibility to protect the civil rights of our youth
and make them feel supported and understand the value of community power.
The youth are in jail right now and we need to post $250,000 to release
them. The money will be put up as a bond so can therefore be returned to
you. We are asking for every Arab American in the San Francisco Bay Area
community to contribute at least what they would for their own children. As
we chanted in the demonstration today "aint no power like the power of the
youth because of the power of the youth don't stop" We are asking for you to
believe in your community and support our youth in a much needed time. To
loan these youth some money please contact Tev at 774-240-3403. We are
trying to release them from jail this evening or tomorrow at the latest.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Loubna Qutami