Infoshop News editor, Jamie "Bork" Loughner, tasered and removed by ambulance
Bork was released from jail in time to attend the protest at the City Council meeting. She had been arrested on Wednesday after locking down at the B.W. Cooper housing complex. Unfortunately, the city council today voted to tear down housing at all four complexes.
Washing out eyes after being maced
by Darwin BondGraham
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
New Orleans Independent Media Center
First locked out of their homes for more than 2 years, and now locked out of the very City Council meeting in which the city’s politicians are set to vote for tearing down their homes, residents and activist today were attacked by police to keep them from entering the City Council chambers.
From Indymedia reports:
Police attacked opponents of the demolition who made it into the City Council chambers for speaking out and refusing to take their seats. Witnesses from inside said that anyone who vocally protested the proposed demolition, or the exclusion of people from the chambers, was descended upon by officers and summarily taken out. If a person resisted, the police attacked.
Maria Piamascaro, an NYC-based reporter for the Swiss weekly Hebdo, said she was inside the chambers, and was taking pictures of a woman being beaten by police, when "a police officer told me to stop, and threatened to arrest me. Then he pulled me out of the chambers. When I tried to get back in through another entrance, the police told me I'd be sent out of the country if I didn't leave. I've been in riots in New York and other places in the US, and I've never been treated like this."
Police Attack Protesters With Mace, Tasers to Keep Them Out of City Hall
by Darwin BondGraham
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM
Police Attack Protesters With Mace, Tazers to Keep Them Out of City Hall: Council to vote on demolishing 5000 affordable homes
Thursday December 19, 2007
The scene was described by many as a microcosm of everything that’s wrong in the city and America. The whole situation has been referred to as “high noon,” and “do or die time.” It’s decision day for public housing in New Orleans.
Underneath New Orleans City Hall, a huge office building topped with a neon casino-style sign, milled a growing group of public housing residents and supporters. They had arrived for the 10am Council meeting to speak against the demolition of affordable homes. They were locked out and told to “go home.” The City Council is expected to vote in approval of demolishing more than 5000 public housing units in 4 developments across the city today. The majority of the council has already pledged publicly to rubber stamp HUD’s highly controversial plans.
Locked out of the council chambers the protesters were quickly surrounded with dozens of police. Behind them stood eight horse-mounted police, and behind the gate keeping them out of the hall were many more heavily armed officers. Right in front of City Hall, behind the protesters is Duncan Plaza, which has been turned into an enormous homeless camp. Many Duncan Plaza residents came over to show their support for the cause. There are more than 12,000 homeless in the city today. Inside the chambers, the City Council proceeded.
First locked out of their homes for more than 2 years, and now locked out of the very City Council meeting in which the city’s politicians are set to vote for tearing down their homes, many of the residents began pleading with the officers to be allowed in. Pleading turned quickly to outrage as it was clear that the process would move forward without their voices or even witness. Receiving phone calls from their allies inside the chambers, the protesters were told that the Council meeting was being held up by chants and clapping until everyone was allowed inside. The Council members refused and called on their security forces to clear out the chambers.
In the desperation the group outside began shaking the large metal gates locking them out. The gate was easily broken open. Police moved in with pepper spray and batons, quickly beating back anyone near the entrance. Chants of “housing is a human right,” and “justice!” filled the air along with the putrid smell of the chemical weapons used by the NOPD. The gate was re-secured with handcuffs this time. Again the protesters chanted and demanded entrance. Some called into question the legitimacy of a “public” meeting in which the public was excluded.
As they pushed against the gates it suddenly became clear that something was happening inside the chambers. Dozens of police quickly sprinted into the building with their hands on their weapons. Outside this sparked concern among those gathered who began to slam against the gate once more. An ambulance arrived in the compound and a stretcher was taken into the building. Police would not communicate with those outside as to what was happening in the chambers. Protesters in the building began calling their allies and reporting that the police were forcefully clearing the room. It is confirmed by housing advocate Jay Arena that he, Malcolm Suber, Sess 4-5, and Endesha Jukali were arrested along with others. It is reported but not yet confirmed that Sess was tasered.
Outside the protesters again managed to break through the gates and pulled one side of it away from the officers. The police moved in and attempted to pull the gate back. Then came the pepper spray and tasers, this time much more forceful. At least two women were struck with tasers. On of them was simultaneously hit with spray and taser and then smashed between the pavement and metal gate. She was rushed away from the scene by friends who treated her nearby until an ambulance could be found. Here medical condition is unknown at this time. Another woman, Bork, the same activists who yesterday chained herself to a building at BW Cooper was tasered and taken away in an ambulance. The police fanned chemical weapons out over the entire crowd hitting dozens in the face and eyes.
Activists from the Coalition to Stop Demolition have put out a national call to allies: come to New Orleans, help stop demolition, take nonviolent direct action. The struggle, after today continues, but it has become glaringly apparent the lengths to which the City Council and their allies will go to tear down homes.