Washington, DC – A ‘speakout’ event took place on Sunday outside the Washington DC Metro Police Headquarters. The rally was held in part to condemn the aggressive prosecution of Trump inauguration protesters arrested on January 20, over two hundred of whom face up to eighty years in prison. It was organized by ‘Smash Racism DC’, a coalition made up by several different local organizations.
Two white supremacist ‘alt-right’ rallies also took place in Washington, DC on the same day. What was originally planned as one white nationalist unity event ended up splitting into two competing rallies after some ‘alt-right’ personalities refused to share a stage with the famously punchable Richard Spencer.
The call-out for the anti-fascist gathering also expresses solidarity with victims of recent deadly attacks by white supremacists, and addresses the irony of authoritarian far-right racist groups organizing under the banner of “free speech”:
The right wing can have their sham “free speech” rallies, but we know they are mobilizing to deny even the right to exist to those who don’t look like them…Unlike the right wing, we actually are facing state repression and we have a legitimate fear of our speech being taken away—repression that the fascists hypocritically endorse. We must rally together to show all that we won’t be silenced, and we won’t let the state or the right wing mobilize to take our right to assemble, our right to protest, or our right to exist. We will rally at the headquarters of one of the worst suppressors and deniers of speech—the police.“ – Smash Racism DC
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Shortly before 3 PM, the crowd took the streets in downtown DC and marched behind a formation of antifascist flags, banners, and spider puppets. The group eventually dispersed without incident. The white nationalist events taking place elsewhere in the city also ended around the same time but there were no physical confrontations reported between any of the various groups.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 26, 2017
Recently in Chicago, IL we spoke with Olivia, one of the 200+ people charged and indicted after police surrounded and mass-arrested everyone in the vicinity of the antifascist ‘black bloc’ march during Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
In February a federal grand jury returned an indictment on counts of Felony Riot, with sentences of up to ten years, for 214 individuals swept up in the kettle. On April 27, a new superseding indictment was issued, adding several more felony charges to all defendants, with many now facing potential sentences of up to 80 years. The indictments generally do not refer to individual defendants but refer to the collective guilt of those who chose to engage in an anarchist protest, at times citing protest chants, or black clothing, as evidence of a “conspiracy.”
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against DC police over constitutional violations, physical and sexual abuse, and other violations carried out by DC and US federal authorities during the mass arrest.
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J20 Trial Coverage & More:
- Criminalizing Dissent: Trials Begin for Trump Inauguration J20 Protests - November 29, 2017
- Criminalizing Dissent: Contested Evidence Introduced in J20 Trial Testimony - November 29, 2017
- Police Commander Behind J20 Arrests Joked About Holocaust, LGBTs - December 3, 2017
- Criminalizing Dissent: Trump Inauguration Protest Trial Enters Fourth Week - December 9, 2017
- Criminalizing Dissent: After Proving “Mere Presence” J20 Prosecution Rests Case - December 13, 2017
- Jury Finds Six #J20 Defendants “Not Guilty” on All Charges - December 21, 2017
- Interview: 188 Still Face Decades In Prison For Trump Inauguration Protest - January 13, 2018
- DC Mayor, Police Refuse to Release Financial Records of Trump Inauguration Investigation - January 17, 2018
- US Attorney Drops 129 Trump Inauguration Protest Cases, 59 Still Face Decades In Prison - January 18, 2018
- FERC Protest, Evict the DNC, & Disrupt the DeploraBall on the Eve of Trump’s Inauguration - January 23, 2017
- “No Peaceful Transition” for Trump as Thousands #DisruptJ20 in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day - January 27, 2017
- 214 Indicted on Felony Riot Charges for Protesting Trump Inauguration - March 15, 2017
- Anti-Racist Coalition Rallies Against Fascism and State Repression at DC Police HQ - June 25, 2017
- Protesters Face 80 Years as US Attorney Brings Unprecedented Mass Felony Charges (Includes Interview with Olivia, a Defendant) - June 29, 2017
- J20 Defendant Dane Powell Sentenced to Four Months in Federal Prison - July 7, 2017
- J20 Indictment Challenged in Motions Hearing; One Count Dismissed - July 28, 2017