[Marxism] IWW protest in North Providence attacked by Police

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at mac.com
Thu Aug 16 07:33:00 MDT 2007

> A protest march in North Providence last week, sponsored by the  
> local IWW with SDS participation, resulted in an incident of police  
> brutality against an unarmed protester, who tragically,  could lose  
> her leg as a result. Check out the photos and note the severe dis- 
> articulation of her left leg.


> Was this police brutality ???
> North Providence, Rhode Island police "tackled" two union  
> protesters who were marching peacefully for workers' rights-
> Alexandra Svoboda ended up with a severely fractured leg and a  
> ruptured artery, is undergoing multiple operations, and is at some  
> risk of losing her leg. A witness stated that one of the officers  
> "... [kicked] her legs from out from under her..." Police later  
> charged her with three counts of felony assault on police officers.  
> Perhaps embarrassed by the attention of the public, the police have  
> since reduced the charges.
> The Providence Journal is conducting a survey asking the question:  
> Did the officers overreact?
> At present, a slight majority of readers seem to believe so.
> Please read the following article and view the photos to help you  
> make up your mind, and please consider registering and voting in  
> the poll, and offering a comment.
> http://www.projo. com/perl/ common/surveys/ display_full. pl? 
> poll_id= 12864& site=projo
> Photos are here:
> http://jonathanmcin tosh.smugmug. com/gallery/ 3293537
> ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
> Police defend actions in protest
> 01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, August 15, 2007
> By Richard C. Dujardin
> Journal Staff Writer
> NORTH PROVIDENCE - As the police stepped up their probe into  
> whether officers used excessive force against a 22-year-old  
> demonstrator whose leg was twisted and broken during Saturday's  
> protest against an Asian restaurant on Mineral Spring Avenue,  
> Deputy Police Chief Paul Marino and Mayor Charles Lombardi both  
> reiterated yesterday they don't believe local officers did anything  
> wrong.
> Alexandra Svoboda, of 139 Wood St. in Providence and originally  
> from Lincoln, Neb., was in surgery yesterday for the second attempt  
> to save her leg. Meanwhile, outside Rhode Island Hospital, fellow  
> demonstrators from the Providence branch of the International  
> Workers of the World gathered to express their support for their  
> fallen colleague.
> There are conflicting stories about how Svoboda - who has an aunt  
> and uncle who were FBI agents - was injured.
> Lombardi said that on what he's been told he does not believe the  
> injuries "were caused by the town of North Providence." He said the  
> young woman, who was wearing an upside-down bucket around her neck,  
> may have suffered the broken leg after tripping and falling backward.
> Mark Bray, a leader of IWW's Providence chapter, said he was  
> standing next to Svoboda on the lawn in front of Luca Music on  
> Mineral Spring Avenue. He said the incident occurred at a moment  
> when demonstrators, who he said numbered no more than 30, were  
> trying to comply with the Police Department's request to move from  
> the middle of the road and onto the sidewalk as they continued  
> their march toward Jacky's Galaxie restaurant - the target of the  
> protest.
> "I saw an officer put his hands on her and grab her as he went  
> forward into her," he said. "She was playing drums on the bucket,  
> and she recoiled." The impact caused her to fall back down into the  
> crowd, according to Bray, who says he then saw the police charge  
> into the crowd after her. "I was right nearby. She was dazed from  
> the initial encounter and then three cops converged on her. One  
> took the task of kicking her legs from out from under her while  
> they pushed her to the ground. It was a fall, but not a natural fall.
> "I find it hard to believe that they could not have arrested her in  
> a normal manner. I would hope the police would be trained well  
> enough to simply arrest a young girl walking along the street  
> without having to do this to her."
> He said he knows Svoboda and cannot believe the police assertions  
> that she hit them with her drumsticks. "She is not a hothead that  
> would do that. That sort of thing would be out of character for any  
> of us."
> Bray, a candidate for two master's degrees at Providence College in  
> areas of European and American history, said the IWW was formed  
> close to a century ago to help protect the rights of workers,  
> though its Providence chapter experienced a revival during the last  
> year.
> The IWW is active in New York where it has been waging a campaign  
> to organize employees of HWH Trading, also known as Dragon Land  
> Trading, a firm that supplies food for scores of Asian and Latino  
> restaurants from Maine to southern New Jersey. Billy Randel, who  
> heads the union's efforts in the food services industry, said HWH  
> operates shops in the New York area where employees work very long  
> hours for little pay.
> Bray said members here were recently tipped off by two former HWH  
> employees about restaurants in Rhode Island that HWH does business  
> with. The biggest of those was Jacky's Galaxie, with locations in  
> North Providence, Bristol, Cumberland, West Warwick and Johnston.
> "They [the workers in New York] wanted us to let the customers up  
> here know what Dragon Land was doing and about Jacky's Galaxie's  
> complicity with it by purchasing supplies from Dragon Land, and  
> that he should purchase from a responsible supplier that respects  
> labor law."
> According to Randel, the owner of Jacky's Galaxie, Kin Wah "Jacky"  
> Ko, tried to have the protest called off by assuring the union that  
> he had changed suppliers. But the group demanded proof.
> "The more we talked, they [the people at the restaurant] became  
> more hostile and topped it off by going to court to seek a  
> restraining order against us holding any more protests, which leads  
> me to think they do not intend to respect workers' rights."
> Yesterday, Deputy Chief Marino and Mayor Lombardi said that the  
> police received permission from the state Department of  
> Transportation to review the surveillance videos of the  
> intersection of Mineral Spring and Douglas avenues, where the  
> protesters gathered Saturday to begin their half-mile march toward  
> the restaurant, and are looking for any businesses that may also  
> have tapes of the march.
> Marino said the tapes could help to determine how many marchers  
> there were. Police reports suggest that at least at the onset of  
> the march there were about 100 demonstrators, though the numbers  
> may have diminished after the confrontations with the police.
> Lombardi, Marino and other officials listened to audio tapes of the  
> police communications during the protest, which they say became  
> increasingly urgent because protesters were not heeding their  
> requests to walk on the sidewalk instead of the road.
> Lombardi said he only wishes that the protesters had extended the  
> same courtesy to the police that they had extended to the news  
> media by telling them what was about to take place.
> "If they had told us what they were going to do, we could have  
> prepared and could have given them an escort," the mayor said.  
> "Instead they chose to tie up the second busiest roadway in Rhode  
> Island, backing cars up in both directions from Centredale to  
> Pawtucket. I can assure you they did not make any friends from the  
> people who had to use that road that afternoon."
> "We could have worked along with them. Everyone has the right to  
> protest. They have a right to protest peacefully."
> Yesterday, Svoboda's parents, Jan Enstrom and Scott Svoboda, of  
> Nebraska, said they have gone with little sleep since getting the  
> phone call early Sunday about what had happened to their daughter's  
> leg.
> Svoboda's father said he questions the attitude of the police.  
> "These were 35 kids armed with nothing more than cell phones. My  
> daughter is not one to resist a police officer."
> "She is a most peaceful loving person with a large heart," said her  
> mother, adding that she was not surprised that her daughter would  
> have gotten involved in a demonstration to support workers' rights.  
> "That's the kind of person she is. When she sees a wrong, she tries  
> to right it."
> The parents said their daughter came up to Rhode Island three years  
> ago to visit a friend, and liked it so much she decided to stay,  
> taking classes at the Community College of Rhode Island.
> When the police arrested Svoboda on Saturday, they charged her with  
> three counts of felony assault on police officers, a count of  
> resisting legal arrest and disorderly conduct. Marino said  
> yesterday that because none of the police officers were seriously  
> injured, the felonies were being reduced to misdemeanors. Jason  
> Friedmutter, 23, also of 139 Wood St., Providence, had been  
> arrested the same day on a charge of obstructing an officer and was  
> released on $1,000 personal recognizance.
> Svoboda's parents said yesterday's surgery tried to increase the  
> flow of blood into her leg, to make sure it can be used in the  
> future. Her fractured leg is being held by an external brace with  
> pins through her skin and bones. There has been no discussion as  
> yet about the orthopedic surgery that may be required.
> "She is in a lot of pain," her father said.
> Staff writer Gina Macris contributed to this report.
> rdujardi at projo. com
> http://www.projo. com/ri/northprov idence/content/ protest_probe_  
> 08-15-07_ L16OBI5.34bfbd4. html

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