“Repression and Resistance” is a column from Tribune of the People that highlights rebellions and repression happening in protests across the US each week. If you want us to cover a protest happening in your city, please send us a pitch.
The police shooting of black worker and father Jacob Blake in front of his young children last weekend has sparked a new wave of nationwide protests for Black lives, including boycotts by players from many major sports teams. The rebellions in Wisconsin and in other parts of the country have faced escalating police repression and reactionary violence, including the killing of two protesters by teenage reactionary Kyle Rittenhouse who was arrested Wednesday. Read our full coverage here.
In the city where the May Uprisings began, the death of a Black man who was surrounded by police after being pursued downtown on Wednesday incited hundreds to take to the streets that night, damaging private property and expropriating goods. Governor Tim Waltz has deployed State Patrol and National Guard to the city again in an attempt to “restore order” in anticipation of more unrest this weekend.
On Tuesday, after a four-day “BreonnaCon event” organized to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, who was killed by plainclothes Louisville Police officers in her bed earlier this year, 71 people were arrested throughout the day in clashes with police in the streets. Resistance in the city has continued despite extraordinary efforts by the state and local government to persecute protesters with trumped up charges, banning marching in the streets, and increasing penalties for vehicle protest caravans.
Police broke up a march for Black lives in Detroit last weekend and arrested 44 people. Organization Detroit Will Breathe has been leading protests in the city for over 80 days. One viral photograph shows an officer spraying a detained protester with mace at point blank range while three others hold the protester down.
Last weekend protesters blocked traffic near a police precinct in Lafayette in response to the police murder of Trayford Pellerin, a Black man, outside of a local convenience store. Protests have continued throughout the week, and on Monday, one reactionary drove his truck into a group of protesters that had gathered at the store where Pellerin was killed.
Hundreds gathered last weekend in Millennium Park calling to defund the Chicago Police Department and were met with riot police who attacked protesters and made arrests. The city has been the scene of several intense clashes between protesters and police, and the city has taken fascistic measures to crack down on people’s rights, including banning protests outside of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s house.
Protests continue to rage in Portland, but last weekend the reactionaries, including fascist groups like the Proud Poys, appeared more organized than the Black Lives Matter demonstrators. According to one video, the right showed fascist discipline in a street battle whereas the left had no clear direction, engaging in sporadic maneuvers indicative of anarchist ideology.
Anti-police resistance did carry momentum into the week, with one protest targeting the police union HQ with rocks, projectiles, and fire on Monday night, and on Wednesday night, another protest marched on a local ICE building and confronted federal officers.
St. Louis, MO
Kim Jackson contributed to this section.
On Tuesday, activists and community members gathered outside the Police Headquarters in Downtown St. Louis to protest the death of Steven Hodges, who died in a head-on collision while being chased by at least one unmarked police car.
Hodges’ friend Marcus told the Tribune, “The police stood down, they didn’t have no sirens on, no lights. It’s dark as fuck on Natural Bridge after dark. Ain’t no street lights, for real, they don’t even invest in the black neighborhoods over here. So they done killed this boy, and made up a false narrative, that he killed himself. That he was a crash dummy, and that’s a motherfuckin’ lie!”
The protest marched and took the street in front of the Police Headquarters, chanting, “What do killer cops get? People’s Justice!” Activists jumped baricades in front of the police headquarters to put a spray painted mattress saying “Justice for Lil Steve” against the doors while others pounded on the glass calling the police inside cowards for not facing the crowd head-on.
A community activist on the megaphone began promoting the use of elected officials to effect change within the system. As the activist finished, his electoralism was countered by calls from another activist for revolution and not elections, who said that nothing sustainable had ever been won for workers without first fighting for it. This was met by cheers from the crowd, as the activist pushing elections walked off.
Los Angeles, CA
Downtown on Wednesday night, a march in solidarity with Kenosha skirmished with police. At one point protesters were kenneled and ordered to drop their makeshift shields. On Thursday, organization Black Future Project did a flash demonstration at LAPD Chief Michael Moore’s house and plastered his windows with anti-police posters.
Bedford County, PA
On Monday night, a marcher was shot in Bedford County, Pennsylvania as a caravan of activists were walking from Milwaukee to Washington DC for a Martin Luther King Jr. event to bring awareness to the oppression of Black people. The following night the entrance of the hotel where the activists were staying at was also shot at. Read our full coverage here.
Prison abolitionist organization Charlotte Uprising has been leading protests almost every night since last Friday, facing off with police multiple times. Witnesses said that one protester who set fire to a US flag was targeted by police, another protester was subjected to a knee-on-neck hold, and another who police pepper sprayed had a seizure.
Hundreds of reactionaries staged a “Back the Blue” rally near Topeka City Hall on August 25 to oppose police reforms being discussed by City Council. A small counter protest was organized, demanding justice for Dominique White, who was murdered by Topeka Police in 2017. Body camera footage showed officers Michael Cruse and Justin Mackey shooting him in the back five times. Neither officer has faced any charges, and Cruse was recently promoted to Detective.
Last Saturday several hundred protesters marched in Wilkinsburg, a working class suburb of Pittsburgh, to demand justice for Romir Talley. The next day Serve the People-Pittsburgh took a leading role in a march to Wilkinsburg Police Chief “Cookie” Ophelia Coleman’s home in Verona, PA. Cookie had previously labeled the Black youth of Wilkinsburg “urban terrorists” after activists demanded answers for Romir’s death at a Public Safety meeting last December, a remark she was reminded of as a recording of this was played over and over again on a megaphone.
The protesters there, which included Romir’s mother Tasha Talley, demanded that Coleman come out to speak to her. It was also demanded that Romir’s murderer, Officer Gowans, be arrested and fired. Speeches were given by Tasha, who exposed Coleman for betraying her past activism to become a police officer, as well as activists from STP, who talked about the international fight against police violence, among others.
Salt Lake City, UT
A judge has dropped gang injunction charges, which carried possible life sentences, for nine protesters accused of involvement in the July 9 plastering of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office with red paint as well as anti-police and Black Lives Matter posters. The building, which also had some of its windows broken, had an estimated $200,000 in damages. Many of the protesters still face third-degree felonies which are punishable up to five years in prison. On Saturday, August 22, hundreds rallied to call to ‘drop the charges’ for the case.