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News :: Human Rights : International : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race
Anti-Racists Arrested Opposing Anti-Immigrant Protester
16 Jul 2005
Farmingville, New York – Around nine this morning, near a 7/11 parking lot used by day laborers to wait for possible jobs, Suffolk County police handcuffed and took into custody four of about 25 anti-racist activists who verbally confronted an anti-immigrant leader. A half-dozen Latino day-laborers joined the demonstration against the man that they indicated had been organizing regular protests against them; none of the workers, nor the anti-immigrant activist, were arrested. The counter-demonstration was organized by the communist Progressive Labor Party, and brought a diverse group of people from New York City and as far away as Boston and Washington, D.C.
According to Latino day laborers at the site, four white men have been regularly protesting on a busy road in front of a 7/11 parking lot where workers with no other employment options wait to be picked up for day-labor jobs. The anti-immigrant protesters' signs demand Congress and the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) stop the immigration of people like the sixty or more Latino men gathering on the sides of the parking lot waiting for contractors, business owners, and wealthier residents to offer work for the day.

Farmingville gained notoriety when two young men linked to white supremacist groups attempted to murder two young Latino workers in 2001. Organizers of the demonstration to counter government and vigilante threats against the Latino workers cited recent town-enforced evictions of Latino day laborers for living too many in a dwelling as evidence of continuing violence.

The four anti-immigrant protesters were packing their signs and leaving as the caravanning anti-racist activists, including this reporter, arrived at about 8:30 a.m. The demonstration began in the parking lot, moved to the sidewalk on the orders of police officers who had already been parked at the 7/11. Other members of the group handed out fliers and copies of the Progressive Labor Party newspaper, both in both English and Spanish. When some Latino day-laborers pointed out the leader of the anti-immigrant protests filming the demonstration from a bank parking lot, the demonstrators took themselves, their signs, and their audio amplifier across the street to confront him.

They marched around the anti-immigrant activists' car, continuing to chant slogans such as "We are not illegal, we are workers" and "The workers, united, will never be defeated" in Spanish and English.

At least 15 police cars arrived at the bank. Initially police officers told the anti-immigrant activist that as he was free to leave, the actions of the demonstrators was not their responsibility. After five minutes the police abruptly ordered the demonstrators to the sidewalk by the bank.

The arrests took place even though the anti-racist demonstrators made no physical contact. The police targeted people who were visible leaders. The police first arrested a man who attempted to lead the group in a final march around the car, without giving a second chance for their order to be obeyed even after they disconnected the audio amplifier. The police also arrested two other men, including the liaison to talk to the police who had not been involved in any action for the entire morning. Finally, the police pulled from off the sidewalk a young woman who had never been in violation of any police order, but had earlier been the most main voice leading chants on the audio amplifier. The police also confiscated the audio amplifier.

Friends of the arrested protesters said the police charged them with disorderly conduct, unlawful assembly, and other misdemeanors, with one person charged with resisting arrest. The latter charge is counter to eyewitness reports, the former two charges are counter to the First Amendment.


On-line sources used in this article:

Progressive Labor Party web site - http://www.plp.org/

"Mexican immigrants beaten in New York suburb" by Fred Mazelis - http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/sep2000/imm-s28_prn.shtml

'I Still Have the Scars,' Day Laborer Testifies: Beating victim faces 2nd accused attacker - http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-farmingville112801,0,300

"Farmingville" by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini - http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2004/farmingville/about.html

"Day laborers struggle after racist evictions," by Heather Cottin, Jun 30, 2005 - http://www.workers.org/2005/us/day-laborers-0707/

U.S. Constitution, First Amendment - http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01/

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Comments

Re: Anti-Racists Arrested Opposing Anti-Immigrant Protester
17 Jul 2005
Yes, the government sucks, for sure. To illustrate how much the government has begun to suck, consider that it has probably even become unsafe here in America to talk about overthrowing the government. In America, the Declaration of Indepence requires Americans to not only talk about overthrowing an un-American government but to be ready to actually overthrow any un-American government using armaments allowed for in the second amendment, as you know. So, wake-up you do-nothing congress.
And quit trying to tell me what I can take in to my own body, thankyouverymuch.
Re: Anti-Racists Arrested Opposing Anti-Immigrant Protester
18 Jul 2005
INS doesnt exist any more it is now ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) which is a department of DHS (Department of Homeland Security).
INS now ICE in DHS
18 Jul 2005
Thanks, I knew that and should have noted it in the article. Read <a href="http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/billconroy">Bill Conroy at Narco News</a> for excellent coverage of the new agency (especially the customs side of it). The anti-immigrant protesters, however, apparently don't know about the change-- or haven't made new signs in a while. And we don't want to do anything that will help these supporters of fascist policies work with a government agency that is already fascistic in its round-up and detention of non-citizens.