Open Letter from #StoptheParade
We are a few of the thousands of people disrupting ‘business as usual’ and fighting back against the state sanctioned murders of Black individuals and communities. We stand in solidarity with demonstrations spreading all across the nation following the announcement on Monday that a Ferguson grand jury will not indict Darren Wilson, the murderer of Michael Brown. The following is a people’s account of what happened during the protest of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the morning of November 27th. We want to acknowledge that this act of resistance is happening on a day that ignores the historical and ongoing experiences of colonialism and genocide of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island. This ‘holiday’ also serves as a potent symbol of capitalist culture that values private property and racist nationalist traditions.
We began gathering at 7:00am in front of the New York Public Library by Bryant Park. We proceeded to march with a crowd of close to 100 folks towards 37th street, chanting, “No justice! No Peace! No racist police!” and “Black Lives Matter!” There are many public walkways throughout the parade. We peacefully marched through the 37th street walkway, chanting, while police officers began to swarm the intersection. After crossing the street, we began to turn around and march back across the walkway where police officers met us with a metal barricade. Over 100 police officers began to surround us, boxing us in, while effectively blocking anyone, regardless of whether or not they were a protestor, from crossing the street.
About 30 yards away from us, what seemed to be a glass object was thrown from a window. It was not anywhere near protestors. Law enforcement, individuals attending the parade, as well as protesters, all began to look east and up towards the building from which the object was thrown. It was clear to everyone that this object was not thrown by, or even near, the protestors. Demonstrators at the front lines, as you can see in this video, urged protestors to move back and without warning to disperse, the NYPD began to pick up several metal barricades and use them as weapons. After abruptly dividing us, they began to brutally attack and arrest protestors. The intensity of this was not captured on the videos that went viral.
During this chaos, undercover plain-clothes police officers began assaulting protestors furthering the NYPD’s efforts to characterize us as violent agitators. In fact, one of the authors of this account was hit in the face by a white male plain-clothes officer while being shoved with a metal barricade. We later saw this man help a police officer off the ground, which you can see at 2:05 in this video. We saw several plain-clothes officers, including this man, assisting the NYPD in arrests.
Police reports have informed media that we charged toward the parade, knocked over barricades, smashed windows, threw a garbage can, etc. None of this is true. In this video you can clearly see a demonstrator (2:12) clutching on to the garbage can, after being thrown violently towards it. There is no evidence to support the NYPD’s claims other than a knocked over garbage can which you can see is a result of their attack on us. Arrested protesters were taken to a precinct with a Counter Intelligence Unit, and questioned about their social media activity and connections to organizers. These are all fear tactics utilized by the state to further criminalize and monitor organizers activities.
We are sharing this account with you because it is important to acknowledge and assess the methods that the State is using to infiltrate political organizing. We believe that the object thrown was staged by the NYPD in order to justify any allegations of police misconduct and brutality. We know that plain-clothes officers are planted by the State in order to repress and divide social movements. We avidly refute any and all claims to discredit participants in social movements used by saboteurs, undercover informants and false characterizations of us by the state. We encourage organizers, specifically after Eric Garner’s grand jury verdict, to be cautious and aware of infiltration, to take note of plain clothes individuals assisting the police, document police tactics, share strategies, and be cognizant of the dangers that are associated with any type of demonstration or political expression.
A few of thousands of people organizing for Michael Brown