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Providence March Against State Violence

January 9th 2009
Providence RI
Justin Kelley

On a cold January Friday afternoon, about 40 people gathered to march in solemn funeral procession through Providence. Folks from throughout Providence responded to the call to action from the radical queer "What Queer" collective and gathered at Burnside Park to stand against government violence and mourn the victims of the state here, all over the nation and abroad.

As we prepared to march to locations throughout Providence people displayed banners and signs reading "End all occupations" , "End US aid to Israel" as well as the Palestinian flag. The banner that lead the
procession read "End Government Violence" with two hands interlocked in solidarity with the words "Providence, Athens, Gaza" forming a triangle around the hands, the banner was the fabulous banner of the "What Queer" collective.

The procession got underway with our own funeral march band, playing mournful tunes of remembrance. At the end of the procession three pallbearers carried a child sized coffin, reminding all that in Gaza and all over, children are too often the victims of war and state violence. Since the initiation of Israeli bombing and invasion starting the 27th of December hundreds of children have died, according to UN statistics.

The first stop was a recipient of corporate welfare, Bank of America. There a member of the Industrial Workers of the World Providence chapter spoke about the violence done of the behalf of BOA by the state, detailing the evictions of working people all through out Providence and across the United States. He mentioned the warning given to BOA by the residents of one foreclosed property, along with the wider community that any attempt to evict the tenants would be met with direct action, a blockade of the house preventing eviction by sheriffs. A memorial was left at the bank office reading : " In solidarity with those who have lost their homes to foreclosure, and for our planet who’s mountains are being destroyed with Bank of America's funding of mountain top coal removal. We struggle for accessible housing, and environmental justice, and against all institutions that think nothing of denying our basic needs"

Next the funeral procession made its way to Textron, manufacturer of arms used by US and Israeli militaries in wars around the world. Another speaker gave notice to Textron that their continued war profiteering will not be tolerated. He drew attention to the cluster bombs that Textron provides, which have been banned by many nations such as France as 'inhumane'. These cluster bombs have a disproportionate affect on civilians particularly children attracted to the brightly colored unexploded ordinance. The militaries that use these bombs care not that they can not be effectively aimed and classify the civilian deaths with that chillingly Orwellian term, as "collateral damage". A memorial shrine was assembled with a plaque memorializing those killed by weapons made by war profiteers.

As the procession continued through the sunny cold streets we next came to the facilities of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building. The assembled folks, let ICE once again know that we will not tolerate their kidnapping of our brothers and sisters without papers. The solidarity with all immigrant people was expressed as two speakers from Providence SDS spoke about the recent history of ICE in RI. They detailed the terrorist tactics used by ICE, the detention of workers without papers and the subsequent community outrage. Once more a plaque was left stating: "In solidarity and mourning with all people who live in the shadow of ICE terrorism. We will not soon forget or friends and neighbors and fellow Rhode Islanders who are imprisoned and awaiting deportation. We mourn all those who have died crossing a border. We struggle towards a world without borders and state violence. Luchamos por n mundo sin fronteras y violencia del estado. "

The band played as we marched forward, attracting many passers by who were given fliers informing them about the demonstration the happenings in Gaza and recently in Greece, and decrying all government violence , ending with a plea to fight for a better world. As we arrived at our next stop a police substation, the police arrived with us. They were quickly engaged by the police liaisons who talked to the officers while another sister delivered a speech about police profiling and violence here and everywhere. She talked about the profiling that people of color deal with, mentioning the detainment of several community activists from Direct Action for Rights and Equality for driving while black. She went on to pay homage to the murdered victims of police everywhere. In particular 22 year old Oscar Grant III , who was murdered by the Bay Area Regional Transit police on new years day, and to 15 year old Alexandros killed in Greece by police gunfire on December 6th.

A memorial for Oscar, Alex and all victims of the police was left at the substation, the plaque reading: " In loving memory of Alexandros shot by Athens police for no reason, Dec 6th 2008, We will sustain your struggle" and "In loving memory of Oscar Grant III a young black father killed by Bay Area Transit Police on January 1st 2009 for absolutely no reason. We mourn your loss and struggle towards a world without police and state violence. NO JUSTICE NO PEACE. "

The procession then moved across the street to our final destination the military recruitment center. There multiple speakers called out the recruiters and talked about the need to end militarism's reign over civil society. The final memorial read as such" In mourning of all those coerced into the US military out of economic necessity or by false advertising by military recruiters who relentlessly follow teenagers present in school cafeterias, on the TV and in our mail boxes. We struggle for a world free of military conquest, poverty, and the glorification of machismo."

Email Saffo at saffo (a) for more information or to get involved with What Queer collective.


I feel that the public has realized that they need to protest against the violence going on in the state. This looks to be the first attempt of doing that. Government should consider the issues more seriously unless the situation will get really worst. louvre museum tours

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Views expressed on this website do not necessarily represent the ideas or opinions of the Northeast Anarchist Network or affiliated groups. Posts, comments and statements represent the individual user by which they are posted, or an individual or group cited within the text.