Cover photo by Sarah Doiron of motorcyclist rally in Providence for Jhamal Gonsalves
“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.
San Francisco, CA
Last weekend, a right wing “Team Save America” protest was shut down by over a 100 counterprotesters. Texas native and lead organizer Philip Anderson has espoused many reactionary views on social media and defended US president Donald Trump by saying, “the only reason why Donald Trump is blamed for anything & everything is because his skin is white.” Anderson had invited fascist Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio to attend, but he never showed.
At one point during the protest, Anderson was punched in the face and had at least one tooth knocked out. His small group was forced to retreat to their cars escorted by the police as projectiles were hurled at them. Other reactionaries and three police officers also suffered injuries.
In the continuing streak of protests in Portland, a march on Monday night descended on the local police union building. In defiance of police orders to stay out of the street and to not vandalize anything, a billboard reading “Wake Up America! Thank You Portland Police Bureau,” was set on fire and completely destroyed. No arrests were made.
Protests erupted in Providence this week after local police drove their vehicle into the moped of Jhamal Gonsalves, who has since been hospitalized and is now in a coma. On Tuesday night, rocks, bottles, and fireworks were hurled at police outside the local station.
According to one witness, Jaylon Butler, one of the several protesters arrested, had a seizure in the back of the police wagon. Butler’s family and lawyer have been unable to verify his condition, with law enforcement justifying this isolation as due to an outstanding warrant. The police are not simply “following the rules” in this case; they use any means at their disposal to repress and terrorize those fighting for Black Lives.
Attorney General William Barr, who has pushed for harsher punishments for “violent” protesters including sedition charges, was met by protesters this week as he visited a Tennessee law enforcement agency. His motorcade was blocked by people holding a banner that said “Fed up, Feds out!” Two activists were arrested, with one filming his arrest after he was struck by a secret service vehicle.
In the Chicago suburb of Waukegan, just south of Kenosha, the people took to the streets Thursday to demand an inquiry into the police killing of teenager Marcellis Stinnette, who was driving his girlfriend when they were both shot on Tuesday. Organizers said they did not trust the police to conduct a fair investigation themselves.
Protesters from the Acadia area disrupted a Crowley City Council meeting this Tuesday, protesting the brutal arrest of Edward Troy Yokum, Jr., who had been pulled over for violating curfew. Police tased him, causing him to fall and seriously injure his face. Protesters held signs and chanted throughout the meeting.
City Council member Lyle Fogleman as he was leaving the meeting gestured slicing his throat towards the protesters in a racist attempt at intimidation. Protesters filed a formal complaint, but it is important to understand that racism cannot be reformed away. It must be combated.
Activists held a press conference to condemn the reactionary bill proposed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to raise the severity of charges related to protesting. Proposed last month, the Combating Violence, Disorder and Looting, and Law Enforcement Protection Act would increase the penalties for property damage, obstructing traffic, and throwing projectiles at police, among others.
“If you suppress speech, if you suppress assembly, then you will breed increased resistance,” one activist said. “And the people will win in some other way.”
Former Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority police sergeant Matthew Sinkiewicz was arrested on Thursday with charges related to his vicious attacks on protesters during the May Uprising. On May 30, Sinkiewicz was seen beating people over the head with his baton near the racist Mayor Frank Rizzo statue, which has since been removed. Although the victims have not been confirmed, protester Joe Rupprecht had previously told the bourgeois press that he was struck at that time and place, and pictures were taken of his gruesome injury.
It is not the first time that Sinkiewicz has suffered consequences for excessive force. In 2016, he was disciplined, but not fired, after he was caught on video violently slamming a handcuffed Black man to the ground. The record of Philadelphia police also makes it clear that brutal use of force is not unique to Sinkiewicz. Other Philadelphia officers have been suspended this year for violent acts like beating a Temple University student and pulling off protesters’ masks to pepper spray them in the face.
A bourgeois news report revealed this past weekend that the national guard had deployed a RC-26B spy plane as well as a Lakota helicopter to monitor a small protest in the Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills in June, which is incidentally where the head of the California National Guard Major General David S. Baldwin lives.
The LA Times, which broke the story, zeroes in on this likely case of corruption while trivializing the fact that military aircraft have been used across the country as part of US imperialism’s strategy of criminalizing protesters. Whether or not Baldwin appropriated these national guard assets for the security of his own home, these interests align with those of the ruling class in general, which has a mass surveillance network to aid in the oppression of working people.
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