----- Original Message -----
From: Dawn
Sent: Sunday, December 09, 2001 10:23 AM

Following is a brief, informal report on yesterday’s demonstration in Philadelphia.
 — by Jack A. Smith, Mid-Hudson National People’s Campaign


An multinational crowd of over 1,000 participated in a militant demonstration in Philadelphia Dec. 8 in support of African-American death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal on the 20th anniversary of his arrest for killing a police officer. Jamal, and a worldwide movement supporting his freedom, insist he is innocent.

 Those attending the march and rally included youth from Toronto and Montreal who carried a huge block-wide banner, and an official delegation from the city of Paris. International Action Center members came from Boston, New York City, Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Philadelphia police attacked the march without provocation, according to the IAC, one of the event sponsors.  The attack began when cops on bicycles rode into the crowd and began beating, macing and arresting people. As police drew their billy clubs and guns, protesters surrounded the cops to try to protect those being arrested or attacked and chanted, "Let them go! Let them go!" and "Shame! Shame!" Police responded by pointing guns at peoples' heads and throwing others against cars.

At least seven demonstrators were reported to be arrested. Two of the arrested women were sent to the hospital. Three IAC members were attacked — one maced and two beaten with clubs. Groups of supporters are maintaining a vigil at the Round House, where protesters are being incarcerated.

 After the attacks, the march proceeded to the final indoor rally at Philadelphia's Ethical Society. Speakers at the rally, including the delegation from Paris, charged that the award winning radical journalist was the victim of a racist frame-up. (Earlier this month, Jamal was named an honorary citizen of the French capital by the Paris city government.)

Protesters interpreted the attacks as further efforts on the part of the Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police to prevent the truth about Jamal’s case from emerging.

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