Protesters Viciously Arrested at Inauguration Protest Now Hit with Felony Rioting Charges
January 24, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Right from its inception the Trump-Pence fascist regime has begun severe repression of dissent and protest. Approximately 230 people were viciously arrested at a series of protests in Washington DC on Friday January 20—Trump’s Inauguration Day.
According to federal prosecutors, the bulk of those arrested will be charged with felony rioting, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), “The police, without warning, fired pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and flashbombs at protesters. The police tactics including kettling a large group of protesters, including at least one NLG Legal Observer, and spraying them with chemicals.”
Further, one of the lawyers told Alternet that, “Across the board, all phones and cameras [of arrestees] are being held as evidence, and they are also detaining gloves and cell phone chargers as evidence...They are giving people their wallets back generally, but that’s it. It is extremely troubling.”
Jeffrey Light for the D.C. Chapter of the NLG immediately filed a lawsuit to get an injunction against the use of such tactics against peaceful protesters. “It stands out in terms of it being a mass arrest,” Light said. “We haven’t had one of those in a decade, where there was a wholesale sweep with no warnings to anybody.”
The severity of the charges for this type of protest is an almost unprecedented move according to lawyers familiar with mass arrests in DC—a brutal signal sent by a rapidly consolidating fascist regime that has assumed all the power of the state.
This is an escalation in repression against those who were determined to oppose Trump taking the reins of power—repression which itself is meant as a warning and threat to all those who hate this regime and are coming into motion against it that much worse is coming.
Undoubtedly the incoming regime was stung by the fact that TV coverage of the inauguration ceremony was being viewed on a split screen with pictures of intense protests against Trump as tear gas wafted in the streets of DC.
As the Revcom.us article: “Lives in the Balance... Which Will Win?—Trump’s First Days: The Heavy Hand of Fascism and the Spark of Resistance” said:
The logic of fascism is to stay on the attack, to move quickly and to threaten and bludgeon anything or anyone who gets in their way. The method of fascism is shock and intimidation, one outrage after another, until people are reduced to crouching and cringing in the face of repeated and unpredictable blows.
We now face a situation in which Trump and Pence hold in their hands the power of state and in which they have begun to work that logic. But as yet, this power is not consolidated.
There is not much time... but there is yet a window that still exists.
Many more people must step forward to join this urgent situation and as part of this demand that the charges against all those who have been arrested righteously protesting the installation of a fascist regime need to be dropped NOW.
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