Socialist Worker

‘We are rebelling against the system that allows racism to exist,’ say US protesters

As repression and resistance rage on the streets of US cities more than a week after George Floyd’s murder, Socialist Worker spoke to eyewitnesses on the protests

Issue No. 2708

Marcela Mitaynes. Housing activist and candidate for the New York State Assembly endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

Marcela Mitaynes. Housing activist and candidate for the New York State Assembly endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America


Marcela Mitaynes

Housing activist and candidate for the New York State Assembly endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

‘We are rebelling against the system that allows racism to exist.’

“There was an army of police. Each of them had batons ready and riot gear.

"They were using their bikes as weapons and often charged at crowds of peaceful protesters.

"Additionally, they were constantly pepper spraying, beating and violently arresting peaceful protesters.

"Many of them were not wearing masks. It felt much more like a warzone, where one side was attacking the other, than a protest.

"The police are using blatant violence to repress protests, but it is becoming clear that that tactic will not work.

This is a result of generations of racism, violence and oppression. People can only be oppressed for so long until they begin to fight back.

The Covid-19 crisis exposed the deep inequality and racism within our society. While many working class people lost their jobs, savings or health, the rich in this country became richer.

In New York, our governor refused to cancel rent or drastically reduce the number of people incarcerated. This severely hurt the working class and people of colour.

 We are not just rebelling against one act of racism—we are rebelling against the system that allows racism to exist.”


Elizabeth, protester in Louisville, Kentucky

The city has seen some of the most intense and violent battles with the police and the National Guard. An unarmed black man, David McAtee, was shot dead as they attacked protesters on Monday.
 

‘If my generation rolls over, the next one won't have a chance.’

“On Sunday night the police started tear gassing protesters half an hour before the curfew at 9pm. 

“They also surrounded us on the rooftops and with helicopters.

US South—monuments to racism must fall
US South—monuments to racism must fall
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“The chants have been the names of the murder victims.

"In our area it’s Breonna Taylor who was shot and killed by the police in her home in March. 

“I'm 35 and this may be the best opportunity I'll ever have to stand up for everything I believe in and talked about my whole life.

“I also have children and have to lead by example.

“If my generation rolls over for the government and police, the next generation won't have a chance.”


Zakia

Zakia


Protester Zakia in Birmingham, Alabama 

Protesters in the city pushed the mayor, Randall Woodfin, to say he will remove the Confederate soldiers and sailors monument. The crowd gathered in Linn Park, Birmingham to try to topple it on Saturday of last week.

‘We wanted the Confederate statue taken down’

“Birmingham has its highs and it also has its lows—and the lows is the racism that lies here.

“Since the riots and protests have risen, we as black people have had enough and wanted the Confederate statue taken down.” 

Zakia said it “brought everyone together, not just black people but people from all nations and religious beliefs”. 


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