Austin: Day of Action to Drop the Charges from May Uprisings

By Brian Martel

As part of a national day of action on Wednesday, activists with the Drop the Charges Coalition rallied on the steps of the Austin federal courthouse to demand that all remaining charges against the protesters from the May Uprisings be dropped, in particular the remaining 350 protesters still facing federal charges.

The day of action came one day after the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, which sparked the May Uprisings. Activists and community members delivered speeches in support of the people’s rebellion against racist police violence. In a symbolic action, protesters linked together zip ties to represent the remaining 350 federal charges, and then cut the zip ties with scissors while chanting “Drop the Charges!”

Speakers urged attendees to sign the National Lawyers Guild petition to demand the imperialist Biden administration drop all the federal charges against protesters, “Biden is having George Floyd’s family eat in the White House for the anniversary of his death, but still prosecuting protesters,” said one young activist.

Speakers emphasized that it was the May Uprisings which forced the ruling class to concede to the conviction of Derek Chauvin: “People went out and took action during the economic and health crisis to demand a change against the system that does not serve us,” said one activist. He called the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin a concession that “would never have happened, if it hadn’t been for the people taking to the streets.”

“I want to thank Red Aid and the National Lawyers’ Guild for helping my daughter,” said a mother of one young woman whose charges from the May Uprisings were dropped, “I’m really here to share my experience and hopefully provide hope to some of you whose parents aren’t as supportive as I am of my daughter.”

Two 15-year-old activists talked about the persecution of young protesters, citing the case of Tianna Arata in San Luis Obispo, California who was charged with several felonies for organizing a protest for Black lives. The young activists said that young people are prepared to stand with those who fight against the capitalist system.

Drop the Charges emerged out of the protests against Floyd’s murder with the goal of supporting the thousands of protesters facing state repression, uniting groups across multiple cities. Members of the coalition include the Atlanta Anti-Repression Committee, Detroit Will Breathe, Minnesota Uprising Support, Palestine Solidarity Committee, and more. As part of the day of action in Detroit, organizers held a letter-writing event to prisoners from the uprisings.

In Austin, the group reiterated their commitment to continue their organizing. “Though it’s been a year since the May Uprisings began, the fight continues in the court rooms and the jail cells,” said one activist. “We will not stop fighting until all political prisoners are free.”

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