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Saturday, July 28

US gov't scared of Occupy movement

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Rebel NewsAmericans have staged a rally in the city of Anaheim in the state of California to show their outrage at the country's police brutality. 

The Tuesday rally followed similar protests that erupted after an Anaheim police officer shot dead 25-year-old Manuel Angel Diaz on Saturday. The unarmed Diaz was killed while running from officers on the eastern part of the city.

The incident has sparked days of protests by the angered community. Hundreds of people staged a protest at Anaheim City Hall's council chamber on Tuesday.

The security forces fired shots into the air to disperse the protesters who were shouting slogans against police brutality during the latest rally.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Michael Prysner, an Iraq war veteran and the coordinator of ANSWER Coalition Los Angeles, to further talk over the issue.

The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: Tighe Barry, a member of CODEPINK from San Francisco, and Scott Rickard who is an activist and a former American Intelligence Linguist from Orlando. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Michael Prysner, you live in Los Angeles, roughly 20 minutes or half an hour from Anaheim. Maybe you can tell us that Anaheim is known to be the home Disneyland, “the happiest place on earth”, but it is not the case now, is it? A record number of police officers involved fatalities, one who was unarmed, with excessive use of police force to have been cited; what is going on in Anaheim?

Prysner: Disneyland is called the happiest place on earth but within those gates of Disneyland, I mean in this kind of fantasy that exists in Anaheim. But surrounding Anaheim is the people who work at Disneyland; the people who are not paid enough money working for Disneyland that they cannot even afford a car and transportation to Disneyland to go to work.

So these people live right on the outskirts of the theme park, very poor, very oppressed communities that really deal with police brutality, police intimidation and police harassment on a daily basis and what has happened in this past weekend, there has actually been 8 officers involved killings in Anaheim so far this year and we are only half way in to 2012.

So what happened this weekend is an unarmed man was executed by the police in broad daylight in front of all of his neighbors; this man was already shot once and was surrendering when he was shot a second time in the head and the community saw this and they responded.

They went out into their frontlines and they began to peacefully protest their neighbor being executed by the police. At that point, the police unprovoked, as you saw in the video, attacked this demonstration which was mostly children, people holding infants, there were baby strollers visible, attacked this demonstration with beanbag shock guns, with rubber bullets, both munitions known to kill people, even unleashing an attack dog on a man who was holding an infant in one arm and being attacked by a dog with the other arm and this has led to an explosion of protests in Anaheim because, like I said, this is not just an isolated incident but this is the daily experience of people living in this community.

And so people are fed up and so people are rising up and there has been very militant, very spirited demonstration that have taken place throughout the weekend and until today. In the night of the major demonstrations on Sunday, the Anaheim police killed another unarmed man just blocks away from that first one was killed which has led to even more protests.

So very heroic actions have taken place on Sunday. The day after, we were part of taking over the police station in Anaheim for about an hour where 50 to 60 protesters were inside chanting in the face of police and shutting that police station. 

On Tuesday night, about a thousand people rallied outside of the Anaheim City Council meeting; they were denied entry into the meeting where the community is supposed to be able to speak but they shut down the streets and demonstrated heroically throughout the course of the night and have every night since the killings took place. 

Press TV: Michael Prysner, there was an incident happened that involved you and that was on Monday, July 23, when the Los Angeles office of ANSWER Coalition, which is a coalition of peaceful anti-war groups, was broken into. Perhaps you can tell us what happened when it was ransacked and robbed. Its computers, sound equipment and bullhorns were stolen. Why do you think that your office was ransacked in the form of manner that it was? I mean are they trying to suppress organizations that you are involved with such as yourself? 

Prysner: Sure, I do want to say first that, as Tigh (Barry, the other guest on the show from San Francisco) said, this is generations of abuse, generations of police killings but I would say that now the time period is different; I do not think that the police feel more emboldened now to carry out these kinds of attack and police brutality and killing. 

I actually think that the police now are very much on the defensive and very much scared of the public scrutiny they are getting because what has happened is now for the first time ever in dealing with police brutality, there is constant video evidence and video recordings of what the police have been doing for generations to poor and oppressed communities.

And the police forces are very, very scared of this because for the first time, their actions are a matter of public record and up for public scrutiny. We know after the Anaheim attack, when they attacked that group of peaceful women and children and people peacefully protesting, the police went to every single door in that neighborhood, knocked on the door and offered the people who lived in those houses a considerable amount of money to purchase whatever video footage those people had taken. 

So we know that they are very scared of the surveillance that average people and anyone really can do. So people need to continue to do that, continue to videotape the police so what they have been doing for generations can now will be seen by people all over the world. But what happened to us, we were featured very prominently in the mass media on Sunday and Monday, not for leading the protest in Anaheim but simply because we were participating and supporting the community there. 

But our placards, out banners, our signs, we are seeing all over the country and all over the world because we were on the ground as the struggle was taking place. So as a result, our name, our organization was kind of on a national spotlight as one identifiable group that was taking part in these actions. 

In addition to an attack from the right wing that occurred at the same time where right-wing websites are starting to try to paint the uprising in Anaheim as the work of outside agitators meaning us and organizations like us. 

So after a day of intense media coverage on Monday and our organizers doing national press interviews in receiving dozens if not more racist hate calls to our office from people who are supporting the murders that the police were doing in the repression of the community, we came in the morning after that day to find our office had been broken into; the office had been trashed; all of our computers were taken; all of our sound equipment was taken; all the things necessary to continue organizing protest actions were suddenly missing overnight. 

It was a very thought-out operation. I mean there was a lot of equipment that was taken and it was a very sophisticated operation. But regardless of that fact, it did not halt our operations; we still were able to mobilize people for a protest, that night t the City Council meeting and we are continuing to move forward with protests throughout the weekend and throughout next week in response to the same thing. 

But this happened, we cannot say with certainty why it was carried out but we think it is very no worthy of the events leading up to this incident and this is not something that is very new in the United States or in Los Angeles especially where the police have been known to ransack the offices, of progressive organizations with the intent of disrupting and sabotaging their activities. 

Press TV: It appears that the US government is like on a state of alert, a kind of paranoid. It appears that way. I mean I am looking at two executive orders, one I am not even going to try to pronounce the title of it but it was in the White House that Obama singed it and it was to control all private communications in case of emergencies. And there is another one that is called the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order instructing US agencies to prepare for the declaration of a martial law. What is going on, Michael Prysner? 

Prysner: Yes, the US government is very scared at this moment because of the developments that have been happening around the world. We know that capitalism is in a deep economic crisis not just in the United States but globally. 

So this global crisis has resulted in uprisings all around the world from the Middle East to Europe, to Greece. So the US government is paying a very careful attention to this knowing that here in the United States where people here are suffering a deep economic crisis that a protest movement here a vibrant protest movement that can force this government to make drastic changes or do away with the current government altogether is a possibility and this is why we saw when the Occupy movement happened here, when it was the Arab spring, as they say, coming to the United States even though there have been many other upsurges and protest movements in the US in recent years. 

When the Occupy movement here started and we know now because a great law from Partnership for Civil Justice has uncovered hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from Homeland Security and from local law enforcement that showed when the Occupy movement started, there is a nationally coordinated surveillance and spying effort directed at people who are protesting and not only that, there is a nationally coordinated violent crackdown, illegal crackdowns on peaceful protests all around the country with the intent of scaring people from ever protesting again, with the intent of smashing the movement that was raising legitimate demands, simple demands about the need for jobs and the deep student debt that college students are living with. 

And so what we have seen is that this country that tries to lecture the rest of the world about democracy and free speech and freedom of assembly tries to use these things as excuses to sanction and attack other countries around the world that this country itself, the right to free speech, the right to freedom of assembly that are supposed to be the most cherished rights under the constitution and the one that the US government brags about all the time and uses to lecture to other countries, in fact instead of aiding the constitutional rights of people who are protesting, used all the power and technology and minds of the state to try to smash that protest movement which has actually succeeded in doing to a large part because they have destroyed the Occupy encampments and they have intimidated hundreds of people from coming into the streets again. 

But that is just a sign that it is a protest movement that is going to get results. The US government knows that very well and sees the people rising up as the biggest threat to the status quo. 

Source: PressTV
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