Activists Held a Block Party to Abolish ICE. The Cops Raided It.
The actions being perpetrated by ICE are unconscionable. The Trump Administration’s policies of “zero tolerance” and “family separation” are pure evil. How these people sleep at night is beyond my comprehension.
I’m not the only one who feels that way. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have protested against the fetid conditions people are being held in at the border as well as the horrific treatment of children. This is a humanitarian crisis as well as a stain on our nation.
As 48Hills reported, there will be a month of protests at ICE Headquarters in San Francisco. It kicked off with a block party and overnight occupation on July 30th which the SFPD ultimately raided. Abolish ICE SF has released the following statement about the protest and the raid:
On July 30th, from 12pm-5am, community members held a “Block Party to Abolish ICE” (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Building at 630 Sansome Street, in San Francisco. The organizers and participants were autonomous people coming together to disrupt and denounce ICE and the harms ICE brings to their communities, while honoring indigenous struggles and rights to their ancestral lands.
Around 12pm, people began to gather on the sidewalk outside of the ICE building, which houses the “Enforcement and Removal Operations” field offices that orchestrate the vast majority of raids and targeted attacks on immigrant communities across Northern California. A stakebed truck which served as the DJ booth and stage was set up, and the day’s program began with speakers from community organizations Causa Justa/Just Cause and Free SF Coalition, a legal defense team that supports undocumented people.
The Block Party to Abolish ICE was met with an immediate response from SFPD, who called a tow truck to haul away the truck, in an evident effort to stop the party. However, after a brief stop, the tow truck left without any disruption to the day’s programming, and the Block Party continued on as planned.
The festivities continued through the afternoon and into the night, as community members barbequed lunch, brought food and drinks to share, and enjoyed the DJs. Speakers included those representing Border Resistance; Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), Never Again is Now; Anakbayan; 30 Days of Action to Close the Camps; Boycott Manny’s; Coalition Against War and Displacement; and many others. (A full list of speakers and performers is available on the event’s Facebook page)
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At night, a group of the people at the Block Party established an occupation and stayed overnight, expanding the Block Party into an encampment protesting ICE. This community occupied the space throughout the entire day of the 31st, until the camp was violently raided by police in riot gear around 1 am, on August 1st. An estimated 50-60 police in full riot gear, armed with rifles that appeared to hold either bean bag rounds or rubbet bullet rounds, forcefully cornered, kettled, and arrested 15 protesters. They threatened to shoot at the protesters if they didn’t cooperate. They brutalized one person, who is still in police custody with allegations of resisting arrest. The other 14 people arrested by SFPD were released early on the morning of August 1st.
The organizers of the Block Party to Abolish ICE also put out a statement:
We are autonomous people coming together to disrupt and denounce ICE, and the harms ICE brings to our communities. ICE, CBP, and other institutions enforcing colonial borders make us live in fear, tear our families apart, and dehumanize our loved ones in concentration camps across Turtle Island (a Haudenosaunee name for North America).
We want to gather against ICE’s violence at the border, in theconcentration camps and detention centers, and within our communities and cities. We envision this as an event that holds space for resistance, in some of its forms. We want to build solidarity, acoalition, & ultimately a united people’s movement that centersimmigrants’ needs and vision for the world.
We are here in solidarity with Indigenous land defense struggles worldwide –the Ohlone struggle to defend their shellmounds from development, the Anishinaabe struggle to defend their manoomin from Line 3, the Kanaka Maoli struggle to defend Mauna Kea from the TMT, the Chamoru struggle to defend Litekyan from Anderson Air Base, the Maori struggle to defend Ihumatao from housing developments. The struggles of Indigenous land and Indigenous peoples can’t be separated from one another, and so our resistance to ICE terror is fueled and deepened by the flames of solidarity across these movements.
The borders that the US government has drawn and enforced are in violation of Indigenous sovereignty and ancestral homelands. We deny their claims to legitimacy in determining where indigenous people can live and migrate. The ICE office whose sidewalk we are occupying organizes the enforcement of these borders, and enacts associated forms of violence towards Indigenous peoples.
We see how in the so-called “Sanctuary City” of San Francisco, SFPD violently defends the murder and violence of ICE, year after year. For the second year in a row, the police have violently raided and ended an encampment protesting the violence that this city purports to stand against. The hypocrisy is clear; we know who SFPD defends and serves.
We are here to create community with one another, lighting the fires of solidarity which ICE continually tries to extinguish.
Join us to resist the violence that ICE embodies, and to build another world together.