Dispatch from Ferguson, Monday, August 18

by Li Onesto | August 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



Let me just start with this. The curfew has been lifted here in Ferguson. But now, in effect they have a 24-hour curfew on the people because they have essentially outlawed anyone “congregating in groups.”

This became apparent right away when Carl Dix tried to go up to Florissant Street to hold a press conference Monday at noon. I was there to cover this for Revolution/revcom.us and saw firsthand how the new level of repression against the people is being put into effect. For all their talk—from Obama on down—about the people’s right to peacefully protest, now people are not even being allowed to stand on the street! And the press is being contained and bullied by the police as well.

I started walking up the street toward the Quick Trip—the convenience store that was burned down right after Michael Brown was killed and has since become a gathering points for protesters. Other media also been set up on this corner. But as I got closer I saw lines of police who started moving on the few dozen people gathered around. They moved on people saying, “you have to move, leave or you will be arrested.” There was even some kind of press conference already going on but the cops didn’t care, they just had their orders to clear the whole area and they were quickly moving on people, including the press who were all breaking down their tents and leaving.

Other media were re-assembling at the Target store parking lot much further down the street and we stopped by there where there was also a group of National Guardsmen.

After this I went to the Ferguson Market where I heard media and protesters had gathered. When I arrived on the scene there were a lot of cops controlling the area but there was a real defiant edge going on in the crowd. As I walked up I saw the police moving on a crowd of people, forcing them down the street. People were chanting and holding signs: “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop to Jail. The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell!” Signs: “Indict the Killer Cop!” “Fire the Police Chief!” “Full Accounting of What Happened Immediately” “Fight the Power and Transform the People, For Revolution” and “People are standing up in Ferguson. Its Right to Rebel!” Also: “No Justice! No Peace” “Protect Our Children” “Please don’t shoot me. My Hands Are Up.”

When Carl Dix was speaking to the press he made the point that he was had come from New York to stand with the people of Ferguson and then later, a woman came up to him and thanked him for coming.

One young Black man was heard saying, “This is not a racial thing, this is about justice”—a sentiment I have heard many other times out here in the streets.

Some people were getting right up in the face of the police each time the cops tried to force people to move, voicing their anger at the murder of Michael Brown as well as the whole way that the people’s protests are being suppressed—how now people are not even being allowed, literally to stand on the street. One guy said, “What about if I want to wait for the bus? I can’t even do that now.” The police moved people down the street and then when people turned around and tried to come back they moved on the crowd again.

At one point an older Black woman who was being pushed by the police down the street along with everyone and she challenged them saying, “I have the right to protest out here. I know my constitutional rights.” A group of cops came up on her and the crowd gathered around this scene and she said, “I’m ready to be arrested.” Some white-shirt cop quickly tried to diffuse the situation, trying to cool things out because people were so outraged that the police were messing with this elderly Black woman. The cop led her away from the crowd.

Soon after this the cops moved on two people—at least one of who was wearing a revolutionary t-shirt. A whole group of cops forced one person down on the ground, got on top of him and cuffed him. Immediately people yelled, “Someone’s getting busted” and people started running toward the scene. The police blocked people from getting close, the media all rushed in. People were yelling, “Let him go, let him go!” Another person was also dragged away. This all happened in a couple of minutes. And there are reports in the news of a number of other arrests today. At this writing both were released from jail, one is injured. 

Among others arrested this afternoon was Getty Images photographer Scott Olson. His iconic photos have provided the world with a picture of what is going on in Ferguson, and his arrest has been an international scandal and is an outrage! One online story on him shows a bunch of his photos with the headline “What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson.”

Before his arrest he had taken photos of the people with revolutionary t-shirts being arrested.

I see on Twitter Scott Olsen was released this evening, and issued a statement “I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job.”

Tonight the National Guard will be in town.

And there is still no justice for Michael Brown.




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