By Josefina Morales
On May 29, activists and community members commemorated the one-year anniversary of the police murder of George Floyd as well as the massive wave of rebellion and protest sparked by his killing, known as the May Uprisings, by marching through the streets of downtown Austin and rallying at the Texas Capitol. Demonstrators also honored both Alex Gonzales Jr., who was murdered by Austin police this year, and Garrett Foster, killed by US Army Sergeant Daniel Perry last July.
“When George Floyd was murdered, we had to watch [Derek Chauvin] for eight minutes sitting on his neck,” one activist said over the megaphone, “And did people just sit there? No! They set the Minneapolis Police Department on fire! And that fire was the fire that sparked the rebellion in the United States that has raised George Floyd’s name up all across the world.”
At the Texas Capitol, several activists spoke on the murders of Gonzales and Foster, calling for the conviction of their killers. In the case of Gonzales, this meant the prosecution of Austin Police Department (APD) officers Gabriel Gutierrez and Luis Serrato. Speakers also emphasized the necessity of overthrowing US imperialism as the means of fighting for the liberation of oppressed peoples in the US and around the world.
“And to do that, we have to start organizing, we have to start marching, we have to start studying, we have to start reading theory, and we have to start applying that to change our conditions,” one activist said in a speech to the crowd.
Activists, including some from the Palestine Solidarity Committee, connected the struggle in the US with the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people, with those in attendance shouting, “From ATX to Palestine, fists up to the sky!”
A spokeswoman for the revolutionary organization Popular Women’s Movement spoke about the women who have been murdered by the police, like Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor, “We working class people, working women, we need to unite, and get organized, and fight for socialism and revolution!”
Continuing a strategy of increased and overt surveillance of progressive marches, several police filmed the protesters with large cameras, while protesters from a nearby abortion rights rally used their signs to block the police line of sight in solidarity.
After paying their respects to Foster as they passed his memorial at 4th and Congress Ave., the demonstrators reconvened at Austin City Hall, where there is an ongoing occupation protesting the reinstatement of the reactionary anti-homeless camping ban. Protesters spoke about supporting the homeless in the face of heightened police and reactionary repression.
The march ended with the crowd chanting slogans like, “Fists Up! Fight Back!” and “Long Live the May Uprisings!”
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