Repression and Resistance: Week in Protest September 18-24

“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.

Louisville, KY

The failure to indict any Louisville police for the murder of Breonna Taylor has fanned the flames of rebellion across the country. Police were fired at on Wednesday with two officers injured, and on Thursday windows were smashed as people defied a 9 PM curfew. Over 100 protesters have been arrested over the course of two days.

Louisville has seen solidarity all over the country. Three of the Bay Area bridges were blocked by protesters in vehicles, and protesters on foot blocked highways and streets in Monona, WI, and Memphis, TN, among other places. There were also more instances of reactionaries driving cars into crowds in Denver, Los Angeles, and Buffalo.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott proposed harsher punishments for protest-related charges, and in Florida Governor Ron De Santis proposed his own bill which raised the charges for property damage, obstructing traffic, throwing projectiles at police, and more. The protests in Louisville have kept the pressure on despite bans on taking the streets, occupying state property, and vehicle caravans—this spirit of resistance has invigorated the wider movement for Black lives this week.

Portland, OR

Yet another unlawful assembly was declared this week by Portland police as fires were set (including outside the Portland Police Association office), firebombs were hurled, and protesters clashed with police, keeping alive a four-month streak of nightly rebellion against racism and the police. The local deputy police chief said that this week’s demonstrations were some of the most “violent” since the police murder of George Floyd in May. At least 13 were arrested.

St. Louis, MO

Activists and community members marched through downtown St. Louis on September 23 after the announcement that the police who killed Breonna Taylor would not be indicted on any charges related to her death. Anti-imperialist speeches gave way to chants of “Death to Imperialism!” and “Killer Cops Go to Hell, It is right to rebel!” Barricades were torn down from the city hall and thrown to the street before the march proceeded to St. Louis Police Headquarters. Once there, trash cans were thrown at the windows, barricades were torn down, and a small fire was set at its door. As an officer came outside to extinguish the fire, water bottles and other objects were thrown at him, and the fire was re-lit. After the protest dispersed, the police snatched two activists as they walked to their vehicles, they are currently being held on multiple felonies including arson and assault on a police officer. You can donate to their legal funds here.

Activists also lent an anti-imperialist character to an “Abolish ICE” march held in downtown St. Louis this week. Speeches against US imperialism were met with support and loud cheers, especially while a “Blue Line” American flag was burned.

Minneapolis, MN

Over 100 protesters faced off with police this week in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, in solidarity with Louisville and to protest the police clearing of a homeless encampment in the southern part of the city. Protesters set up barricades on roads, disrupted light rail traffic (including setting at least one rail car on fire), and chanted slogans like, “No Justice, No Peace! Kill all the police!” and “Die Donald Trump!”

Oxnard, CA

Activists from Oxnard Revolutionary Study Group and community members marched through the streets of downtown Oxnard Wednesday night to protest the verdict on the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

Speeches about Taylor and the continued fight for Black lives were given before the march by Oxnard Revolutionary Study Group, as well as by members of local organizations The MVMNT and Black Lives Matter Ventura County.

“Because she deserves justice, she deserves people’s justice! I want y’all to remember that while we’re out here marching because Breonna Taylor is not forgotten and never will be, and Black lives will always matter!” said Tara, an activist with The MVMNT.

Protesters marched down Oxnard Boulevard until they reached a major intersection, where traffic was blocked from five sides.

A reactionary driver, enraged by the protesters blocking the road, flung a rock at an activist with a sling shot, returning later to lob a large firework into the crowd from his car before speeding off.

San Clemente, CA

The killing of a homeless Black man by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy sparked protests in San Clemente, California. Repeating a lie that is often used in police killings, the sheriff has stated that 42-year old Kurt Reinhold reached for a deputy’s gun, but the protesters rejected that story. Five were arrested.

Charlotte, NC

Over 100 protestors gathered in uptown Charlotte this week after the Louisville police officers who killed Breonna Taylor were not charged with her murder. Protesters were heard chanting “1, 2, 3, 4, slavery, genocide, and war! 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great!” and “Every city, every town, burn that precinct to the ground!” Protesters threw traffic cones and scooters into the street to prevent police on bicycles from following the march.  Protesters were also able to eject a police officer who was tasked with following the protest around. No arrests were made.

Also this week, Charlotte Uprising, a prison abolitionist organization in Charlotte, NC, organized a sit-in for jail support.  Attendees of the sit-in handed out water and snacks to people leaving the courthouse and jail, until the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office responded with twenty officers and made over two dozen arrests.  Officers even arrested a legal observer and a medic, and also arrested bystanders who weren’t participating in the sit-in.  

Durham, NC

Downtown Durham faced the wrath of protesters this week who took the streets in honor of Breonna Taylor. Fires were lit, storefronts destroyed, and other property was damaged. The local police chief attempted to distinguish ‘peaceful’ protesters from the ‘vandals,’ a common tactic used by the state as part of a new ‘red scare‘ to pin the rage of the masses on ‘fringe groups.’

Seattle, WA

Protesters faced off with police outside the East Precinct, the building that had been occupied for weeks by protesters as part of the CHAZ/CHOP. 13 were arrested, and legal observers told the monopoly press that they have observed a rising trend in police targeting protesters for practically nothing.

“Police violence is escalating, and arrests are becoming more and more brutal (and) we are seeing more injuries,” one observer said.

Kansas City, MO

Nearly a hundred protesters surrounded the Kansas City police department this week demanding people’s justice for Breonna Taylor. They also chanted the names of Cameron Lamb, Ryan Stokes, and Donnie Sanders, all Black men who were victims of police violence. Five were arrested.