Dozens gathered on Monday morning outside the District of Columbia Superior Court to protest the prosecution of nearly 200 people arrested on Donald Trump’s inauguration day by government security forces. The activists say that the prosecution is indiscriminate and includes journalists, nurses, and other observers and protesters who did not engage in violence or property destruction.
“The trial of the J20 defendants is going to be a bellwether for the right to protest in the Trump era,” said David Thurston. “The prosecution is asserting that simply because people assembled under an anticapitalist, antifascist banner and wore black, they can all be held collectively responsible for the actions of unknown individuals who may have broken a window or engaged in some form of property destruction.”
“Everyone should be really concerned about the theory that the prosecutors seem to be putting down.” Gude Ortiz, a member of the Defend J20 Resistance organizing crew, says. “Basically that political organizing is conspiracy and that any kind of resistance to systems of oppression, capitalism, Trump, all these sorts of things are inherently criminal activity.”
Protesters say they were arrested to set an example, not for justice.
“There’s a conspiracy and it started when the police decided, before the protesters even left Logan Circle, that they were going arrest them,” says Chip Gibbons of Defending Rights & Dissent. “Police rounded up 234 people in an unconstitutional, indiscriminate mass arrest based solely on their proximity to an alleged crime and based on the fact that they were participating in a protest.”
“If you allow state repression and continue to support politicians and city officials that support repression against dissent, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot,” said April Goggans of the DC Black Lives Matter movement to anyone in the right-wing watching the video. “And it means that your “patriotism” is a farce. You’re a fake.”
A total of 194 defendants face 60+ years in prison, and the trials are expected to continue into late 2018.
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