Sunday, August 31, 2008

Anti-Capitalist Bloc UPDATE #1

Today at 1pm we held at the Lake and Hiawatha Light Rail Station in solidarity with Starbucks workers and to celebrate getting our comrade Erik Foreman’s job back. The rally was a great success with about 100 people showing up. At about 1:45 we all legally boarded the light rail (using rail passes) and headed down to the Mall of America in order to escort our fellow worker back to his first shift.

Everyone was peaceful and orderly on the train as we headed south. At the Bloomington Station the train we were met by police who asked to speak with us regarding our plans. We informed the police that we did not wish to cause any trouble, to protest inside of the mall, or to unlawfully assemble in any way inside the mall. The police told us we should be fine and that we would not have any trouble. We were then allowed to proceed to the MOA stop. At the MOA the train was surrounded by police in full riot gear. They threatened to arrest us if we left the train. We were trapped inside the train for about 20 minutes. The police even prohibited a woman with a child who needed insulin from leaving the train, endangering the child’s health. After about 10 minuets and only after repeatedly insisting that we had a medical emergency did the police permit the woman and child to exit the train. When asked why we were being detained a policeman said: “the mall doesn’t want you here.” The officers’ badge numbers were mostly covered by their gear.

After about 20 minutes the police ordered the train back the way it came and, with us stuck inside, we didn’t have much choice in the matter. As far as I know, there were no arrests (thankfully) and everyone is safe.

This is clearly a violation of our rights as a union to public picketing, our rights as citizens to lawful assembly, proof that the Minneapolis and Bloomington cops are outright liars, proof that they protect and defend corporate capitalism rather than the rights of citizens, and proof once again that our organized power is the only “right” that we have.

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