Solidarity for Mumia in 6 U.S. cities, 8 countries
Published May 24, 2007 12:14 AM
In at least five U.S. cities outside Philadelphia and at least eight other
countries demonstrations in solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal took place aimed at
bringing attention to the latest court hearing May 17 and winning the political
prisoner a new trial on the way toward freeing him.
Photo: Cihan Celik
In Ankara, Turkey’s capital and
Istanbul, its biggest city, activists protested against the
United States for imprisoning Mumia unfairly for 25 years. The group included
academics, journalists, human rights activists and also correspondents of the
daily Evrensel in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the Central Post
office in Istanbul. They delivered a petition to the U.S. Embassy demanding a
fair trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The Cleveland Lucasville Five Defense Committee demonstrated
during rush hour downtown. Signs called for the freedom of Abu-Jamal and the
Lucasville Five, innocent men who face execution in Ohio in relation to the
1993 Lucasville prison uprising, and demanded “Justice for Aaron
Steele.” Steele, a 23-year old African-American bus mechanic, died
May 8 after being shot multiple times by Cleveland police. Passersby grabbed
hundreds of newsletters on Mumia’s case. Other Mumia supporters had held
a protest during the morning rush hour.
San Diego, Calif.
Photo: Miriam Clark
Members of the San Diego International Action Center and the
San Diego Mumia Coalition gathered at a busy community intersection and
distributed newsletters and other material on Mumia’s case to workers on
their way home from work in the evening commute. Several motorists pulled over
to get more details on Mumia’s struggle. Poet Jim Moreno read his Ode to
Mumia for the assembled activists.
Photo: Dave Corcra
Organized in only one week, a broad-base of labor and community activists
joined to support a May 17 press conference and protest in
Milwaukee demanding a new trial for political prisoner Mumia
Speakers from Africans on the Move, AFSCME Local 82, Industrial Workers of the
World (IWW), International Action Center-Milwaukee, the National Lawyers Guild,
Pan African Revolutionary Socialist Party, Peace Action-Wisconsin and the
Wisconsin Green Party spoke in downtown Milwaukee at the Henry Reuss Federal
Prior to the May 17 action IAC-Milwaukee organizer Bryan G. Pfeifer was invited
to speak about the struggle surrounding Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case on
“The Eric Von” show hosted by African American- radio journalist
Eric Von and “The Word Warriors Report,” hosted by African-
American City Councilman Michael McGee Jr.
Photo: Houston Indymedia
In Houston, in the execution capital of the country, where 16
executions are scheduled over the summer, anti-death penalty activists were
fired up by the strong turnouts at two demonstrations. Outside the criminal
courthouse, notorious for sending Shaka Sankofa, Frances Newton and Joseph
Nichols to the execution chambers, demonstrators faced down a phalanx of cops
in riot gear, mounted police and undercover cops everywhere that outnumbered
the protesters 10-1. “Maybe they thought Mumia was joining us,”
said one of the organizers.
In the afternoon from 4-6 p.m. there was another militant demonstration and
rally, this one showing unity among young and older and Black, Latin@, Asian
and white protesters from the Nation of Islam, the National Black United Front,
the New Black Panther Party--whose youth distributed almost 600 of the Mumia
newspapers--the Anarchist Black Cross, Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, gay
activist/leader Ray Hill, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Zapatista
supporters who just returned from meeting Zapatistas with La Otra Campana
across the border, the director of S.H.A.P.E. Center where the Movement to
Abolish the Death Penalty is based, the leader of the Venezuela Solidarity
Committee and others as every group took the microphone.
Photo: Patricia Jackson
In San Francisco over 300 people rallied in front of the
federal building to demand that Mumia Abu-Jamal be set free, in an action
sponsored by the locally-based Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. A broad
coalition of students, union members, community activists and prisoner
advocates spoke out, including Rudy Corpuz, Jr. and other members of United
Playaz, who linked the fight to free Mumia with the everyday reality of
repression and racism in the Black and Brown communities of the Bay Area.
Kiilu Nyasha, a local activist and former Black Panther Party member, delivered
a solidarity statement to the crowd on behalf of the San Francisco 8 who are
former BPP members and community activists who were arrested this spring and
charged with the 1971 killing of a San Francisco policeman. Cristina Gutierrez
of Barrio Unido called upon the crowd to unite to “change this system.
His freedom is our freedom. His life is our life.” Judy Greenspan spoke
at the rally representing Workers World Party. Other speakers demanded a new
trial and freedom for Mumia.
Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier’s statement to Mumia was read
from the podium in Milwaukee, Houston and other cities.
Cihan Celik in Istanbul, Susan Danann, Bob McCubbin, Bryan G. Pfeifer,
Gloria Rubac and Judy Greenspan contributed to this article.
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