Philadelphia Repression: What Can Be Done?

From Stefan Wray <>
Date Fri, 4 Aug 2000 12:42:32 -0500 (CDT)

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The article below is one of many many reports coming out of the
Philadelphia Independent Media Center []
describing the brutal treatment and harsh impositions being inflicted
upon people arrested in Philadelphia at the Republican National Convention
this week. Information such as what's outlined below is NOT being covered
by the mainstream media.

What ought hacktivists be doing right now on the Internet to support our
allies on the street and in jail, many of whom are basically being
tortured and denied access to fundamental constitutionally guaranteed

I strongly urge people to temporarily suspend other hacktivist projects
and place concerted effort on an immediate  hacktivist response to the
brutality being waged by the Philadelphia police department. Furthermore,
I urge people to brace themselves for a similar style of severe crackdown
in two weeks when protesters will again return to the streets to protest
the Democratic National Convention.

What pressure can hacktivists bring right now on the Mayor of
Philadelphia, the Chief of Police, the Governor of Pennsylvania?

Can a highly visible hacktivist style action be swiftly brought into
action that results in widespread media attention being given to the
plight of those in jail? Like I said, this information is not getting out.

How can hacktivists join in the jail solidarity effort via the Internet?

Please read and be inspired do whatever is within your
capability and power as an individual actor, as an on-line affinity group,
or as part of a mass and above-board internet movement to support our
brothers and sisters who are now behind bars.

The repression in Philadelphia is only a prelude, a harbinger of things to
come. We must prepare ourselves and stand together. Those who act in
the street and those who act on the net, must be as one.

- Stefan Wray
Austin, Texas
Electronic Disturbance Theater


Friday August 04, @12:50AM

This is inhuman

By R2K Legal

Demonstrators continue to demand medical treatment, access to lawyers, 
access to phones, and timely release as constitutional
violations persist in Philadelphia jails.

Outside, solidarity actions are happening, with rallies planned at Franklin 
Park at 12 noon and 7p.m. Activists also plan to
collect signatures for a petition demanding the release of jailed  

Arrestees have now been held for over 60 hours without arraignment, some 
without phone calls or contact with their lawyers.
Detainees report missing paperwork, and arraignments with incomplete or 
slipshod records. Philadephia continues to restrict
R2K lawyers, allowing only a
total of three access to all six detention sites.

R2K Legal has documented 381 confirmed arrests, not including members of the 
Int'l Action Center and School of Americas Watch
(15 more). Additionally, there are people we have not heard from (we 
estimate up to 30), but due to restrictions on
protester's access to telephones,
there is really no way to tell. Of these people, approximately 60 have 
accepted "Release on Own Recognizance" or "Signed On
Bail". Solidarity remains strong, with protesters coming to consensus on and 
communicating their demands. While not everyone
still imprisoned is participating, most are.

Guards, police, and administrators continue to attack protestors in jail, 
seeking to demoralize and divide. There has been
one sexual assault, by a female officer who pulled and twisted a prisoner's 
penis. One released activist reports men have
been dragged face down through a
'trash trough' containing refuse, spittle, and urine. Arrestees have been 
verbally abused, punched, kicked, thrown against
walls, bloodied, dragged naked across floors.

Outside pressure on the Philadelphia Health Commission has been effective at 
improving medical conditions. Diabetics,
epileptics, and asthmatics continue to be denied medication, though. Trauma 
and psychological stress are evident. Released
prisoners consistently report beatings during arrest and beatings in jail, 
with highest charges pressed on those most
damaged. Supporters are asked to phone Mayor John Street at 215.686.2181 and 
demand release of these
political prisoners.

Prosecuters have set unreasonably high bail for demonstrators: from $15,000 
to $30,000 for most. Two individuals have bail of
$1,000,000, an amount typically reserved for serial killers, not puppet 
makers. "I consider this a civil rights catastrophe
of the first order," R2K legal counsel Ron McGuire stated.

Solidarity tactics include singing, chanting, story telling, puppet making, 
along with a 150-person-strong hunger strike.
Some have been on hunger strike for as long as 56 hours. Three men have 
fasted without water for 28 hours.

R2K Legal is currently seeking legal redress, including a writ of habeus 
corpus and a possible temporary restraining order
against particularly violent officers.

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