As Over 1,000 Turn Out in Philadelphia for Mumia Abu-Jamal
PHILADELPHIA COPS AMBUSH RALLY, BEATING & PEPPER-SPRAYING MUMIA SUPPORTERS
Ten Arrested; One Left Rally In An Ambulance
The International Action Center (IAC) condemns in the strongest terms the Philadelphia police’s unprovoked and brutal attack on today’s thousand-plus march in support of death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
According to one eyewitness account, on behalf of a right-wing heckler of the rally, bicycle cops towards the back of the march rode into the middle of the crowd, dismounted their bikes and, wielding guns and batons, started indiscriminately beating, pepper-spraying and arresting people. Guns were pointed at peoples’ heads; others were thrown against cars.
The crowd was marching from the corner of 13th and Locust, where 20 years ago Abu-Jamal was arrested for a crime, the shooting of police officer Daniel Faulkner, he says he did not commit. Today at that location protesters viewed the videotaped confession of Arnold Beverly, who has publicly admitted to killing Officer Faulkner for the mob.
As police drew their billy clubs and guns, protesters surrounded the cops to try to protect those being arrested and/or attacked and chanted, “Let them go! Let them go!” and “Shame! Shame!” Police attacked some of these protesters.
Several IAC members were among those attacked, with some being maced and others receiving several blows from police batons. Further eyewitness reports include a woman being dragged for at least a block, choking and with her skin exposed. One person was taken off in an ambulance. In one incident, an African American reporter photographing the events from on top a car was grabbed and pulled to the ground; the attack left a dent in the car.
After the attacks, the march proceeded to the final indoor rally at Philadelphia’s Ethical Society, where more spoke out in favor of Mumia’s demand for his release based primarily on Beverly’s confession. Protesters saw the attacks as further efforts on the part of the Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police to prevent the truth about Mumia’s case from emerging. Those present also watched fresh video footage of the police attacks. Currently a number of protesters who traveled to Philadelphia are staying there to provide legal and political support to those who have been falsely incarcerated.
International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011