Article on the Troy Davis Vigil/March on Thursday

Troy Davis Protestors take to the Streets: “This is what Democracy Looks like”

Amsterdam News Reports on the Troy Davis Action on Thursday  here
Videos provided by one of our members but follow the link to find more video and pictures of the spontaneous, militant and angry march.

 

What started as a twitter post just minutes after Troy Davis’ execution became a full fledged, unreported revolt in the streets of New York City today.

“Raise your hand, raise your fist, it is time to resist,” they chanted.

At 5 p.m. 100-200 people gathered at Union Square for a rally in the name of Troy Davis, who was on death row for over two decades for the murder of police officer Mark MacPhail and was executed September 21 at 11:08pm in Savannah, Georgia.

In a town hall-style gathering people from all walks of life, and many different organizations voiced their reasons for supporting this battle.

Lawrence Hayes, a former death row prisoner and anti-death penalty activist said, “Troy Davis up until his death was the poster child for reasonable doubt…the whole criminal justice system is rotten to the core, and we are not talking reform we are talking abolition. We want to abolish the execution system. It is unfair, it is unjust, it is racist.” To the black community in attendance Haynes said, “We got our own voice and we need to raise it up.”

With goals ranging from the end of the death penalty to the end of all racism in America, protestors took the microphone, raising their voices up. One speaker remembered Sean Bell, saying his death should also be remembered in this movement, while yet another reminded people of Mumia Abu Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party who has been on death row since 1981.

A representative from the International Socialist Organization said, “they’d rather kill him (Troy Davis) than admit that they made a mistake, but one thing they’re not counting on is our anger, our strength.” The next speaker, Sean Baucom, called on the young people in the crowd to draw on that strength saying, “Instead of using social media for pointless updates, use it to organize and be aware.”

And that was exactly what happened when another speaker called for everyone to march. The group began moving from Union Square towards the West Village. They marched west on 14th Street, then turned south onto 5th Avenue to pass Washington Square Park, where New York University students were literally jumping out of their first floor windows and tweeting their friends to join in on the march.

“The system is racist, they killed troy Davis,” they chanted.

Along the way police continuously tried to stop the march by creating a row of motorcycles to block the way, but protestors kept finding detours around them. From there the growing crowd marched onto McDougal Street, with patrons at its bustling bars taking pictures and joining the crowd. On Spring and Thompson the crowd clashed with a much stronger police force, about 50 cops with tear gas dispensers in hand and paddy wagons. Protestors and police fought a couple of times.

One man was thrown to the ground, provoking the comment to police, “you’re all Black, how can you do this to your people,” from one protestor. But the frightened crowd did not stay to hear a response and ran away from each fight onto the sidewalks. After the commotion died down, protestors and police stood sizing each other up for a few minutes before the march turned back uptown and east towards Broadway.

Once it reached Broadway the crowd had grown to well over 1000 and filled the entire street, stopping traffic completely as it marched with a new goal to join the protestors at Wall Street who have been protesting for the past week against the financial system that they say favors the rich over the poor.

“The people united will never be defeated,” they chanted.

Once at Wall Street there was some confusion as to what the protestors should do next, and some stayed at Zuccotti Park while others marched on to Wall and Broad Streets .

Following a procession of drummers the protest on Wall and Broad Streets took on a half party feel in the smokey streats in a way only the Y generation can enjoy social change. The war-like drums continued as protestors were cornered between police barricades and began to clash with police when they tried to break through. At least one person was arrested in this interaction before police asked everyone to leave and began blocking off groups of protestors, splitting them up and pushing them back to Zuccotti Park.

Once at the park there was a “general assembly” where the reunited group tried to determine, democratically of course, what to do next. One member of the crowd yelled out “mike check mike check,” and it was repeated by all around.

“Barricades are actually for our safety,” said one protestor.

“Barricades are actually for our safety,” repeated the crowd.

“Mike check mike check,” said a different voice from across the crowd.

“Mike check mike check.”

“I’m a little confused.”

“I’m a little confused.”

“And I think I’m not alone.”

“And I think I’m not alone.”

“Mike check mike check.”

“Mike check mike check.”

“If you want to march.”

“If you want to march.”

“Lets go to the First Precinct.”

“Lets go to the First Precinct.”

One group decided to stay fast at the park and continue the protests they started earlier this week while the other decided to march to the First Precinct to attempt to retrieve two CUNY students, Freddy Bastonna and Augustine Castro, and two members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM, Brandon King and Joe Jordan, who according to police, had been arrested for resisting arrest.

“Let our brothers go,” they chanted.

The contingent of about 50 young people was met by police in riot gear waiting for them outside the First Precinct. Faced with this threat the group, which included members of MXGM, sat down on the pavement and began to chant even louder, attempting to send hope and support to their imprisoned friends.

The police, affronted by this peaceful gesture, announced that the protestors would be arrested for obstructing traffic. Staying peaceful, yet again, the group pressed itself against the wall of the First Precinct. “You’re obstructing traffic now,” said a voice in the crowd and the seemingly surprised police pressed against the wall too. An awkward man in a grey suit walked on by.

“We are men and women and they are beasts,” said Kilo Vasquez among a group of friends who were leading the protest. “we are free and they (pointing to police) are slaves.”

Members of the group including Domingo Estevez and LaMont Badru made impassioned speeches about solidarity and sticking by in times of need. The group chanted outside of the First Precinct for about an hour, sitting on the pavement surrounded by police, before voting to retreat back to Zuccotti Park under renewed threat of mass arrest.

“Mike check mike check,”

“Mike check mike check”

“Some people have changed their vote, we don’t want to risk losing the momentum we have gained today,” said Domingo Estevez, making the difficult decision to leave his close friends in jail in order to maintain support for the movement.

“This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted.

Various groups have called for post-protest meetings, to continue the activism and organize collectively. The Zuccotti Park protest continues its live-in stay on Wall Street. The International Socialist Organization will be holding a meeting, “why they murdered Troy Davis, racism, capitalism and the injustice system.” on Wednesday September 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Saint Mary’s church in Harlem. Members of The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement said they will also be announcing meetings in the wake of these protests via their Facebook page.

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