On Saturday some Bristol AFed members and friends took the streets to express our Solidarity with the Ferguson, Mo. Since their community rose up to protest the police murder of an unarmed teenager, Mike Brown and the racist harassment they have suffered for years, they face near total repression at the hands of a militarised police force. We came out to add our voice in solidarity, and to amplify their views and their voice. The strength shown in resisting both the crack down and the attempts at pacification from politicians and self declared leaders has been inspiring.
We started by handing out leaflets in the town centre, and getting passers by to sign our banner with messages of solidarity. We then moved to link up with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and their picket outside of Sainsburys. They were happy to have our demo join with their own, recognising, as the people of Palestine and Ferguson have done that this is part of the same fight. We handed out both leaflets together and discussed the links,including the very same teargas canisters littering the streets of Palestine, Ferguson and Egypt.
The community response in Ferguson has brought to light an issue that is too often ignored, especially in the mainstream media, of police literally getting away with murder, usually of those in marginalised communities. Just days after the murder of Mike Brown more police violence was reported. A report from the Malcolm X grassroots movement details the deaths of 313 black people in a single year. This isn’t just a problem on the otherside of the atllantic with 827 deaths in the UK following ‘contact’ with the police in the past ten years. It has been inspiring to see others from postal workers to students expressing solidarity with Ferguson, as much as it has been infuriating to see protests supporting the murder from the likes of the Ku Klux Klan.
Its also shown us the ridiculous lengths the police and state ‘justice’ system will go to cover these up and protect themselves. A recent story of a handcuffed man managing to ‘shoot himself in the chest‘ is a particularly obvious example. From reports of ‘aggressive’ behaviour of black people and irrelevant videos of altercations to reports of ‘outside agitators‘ we need to learn to recognise and call out police lies in the media.
It is important to learn how to protect ourselves, our communities and our neighbours from the police. If the past five years have taught us anything, its that hard times and austerity comes hand in hand with state violence and repression. For more on the struggle against police violence in the US see the Black Autonomy Federation, in the UK see NetPol or get intouch with us.
Solidarity to all survivors and victims of police violence, No Justice, No Peace…