March for Mumia in Los Angeles
For Immediate Release July 14, 2000
Los Angeles activists denounce threats by Mayor Richard “Bull” Riordan to use violence against protesters at Democratic Convention
A coalition of organizations and activists working to build the August 13 march and rally that calls for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal and an end to the death penalty today condemned the threats made by Mayor Richard Riordan to use violence and repression against demonstrators outside the Democratic National Convention.
“Mayor Riordan’s shameful threat in today’s Los Angeles Times to use the LAPD against people expressing their First Amendment right to free speech and assembly is an attack on the rights of the people who will protest the Democrat convention. This is especially appalling considering the latest revelations of the LAPD's record of brutality, racism and corruption," said John Parker, a leading activist in the International Action Center/Millions for Mumia, which is playing a key role in the Aug. 13 demonstration.
“Even more astonishing are the mayor’s comments that ‘we cannot tolerate non-violent civil disobedience.’ Comparing the demonstrators to Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mayor Riordan states: ‘Then, like Gandhi and King, they must be prepared to pay stiff fines and face arrest and jail.’ Apparently the mayor approves of the punishments handed out to those who have historically resisted colonialism, racism and other injustices!
“Mayor Riordan, who now threatens protesters with rubber bullets and pepper spray, aspires to play the role of the infamous Alabama Sheriff Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor who unleashed gas, dogs, water cannon and other violence on Dr. King and all those who marched against racism in the 1960s.
“We will not be intimidated by the threats of Mayor Richard ‘Bull’ Riordan,” said Parker. “We will march and rally by the thousands on Sunday, August 13, demanding a new trial and stay of execution for Mumia Abu-Jamal and an end to the racist, anti-poor death penalty.”
In the San Francisco Bay Area, a wide range of community activists are organizing buses to take people to the August 13 protest. At least 5 buses will be filled. Support for the August 13 National March and Rally for Mumia is growing quickly. “With the passing of Proposition 21 in California and the targeting of youth of color by the state, youth feel a greater need to protest at the Democratic National Convention,” said Rachel Aoanan, a youth organizer for Millions for Mumia/International Action Center. We have dubbed this 'the Summer of Resistance,' and we will fill the streets of Los Angeles to tell the Democrats that we consider them equally responsible for increased repression from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
"Mumia Abu-Jamal is a hero to youth activists, and we are committed to working with hundreds of thousands in the U.S. to win him a new trial, which we know will free him," said Aoanan.
“Buses are coming from as far away as Seattle, and committees are mobilizing in more than 50 cities throughout California and the western U.S. to be in LA on Aug. 13 and the following days. We call upon the city officials to stop threatening violence against the demonstrations taking place that day and week,” Wood continued. “It is the mayor, the police chief and other officials who are responsible for deliberately attempting to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. But they will not deter us or the thousands of others who are coming to LA. The city should immediately issue the requested permits for the Mumia march, the D2K activities, the protest against the Iraq sanctions, and the other protests scheduled for Aug. 13-17.”
Prominent endorsers of the August 13 National March include former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. of Pastors for Peace, Abu-Jamal's attorney Leonard Weinglass, former political prisoner Geronimo ji Jaga (Pratt), poet Martin Espada, and many others.
For more information, or to schedule an interview, call 415-821-6545 or 213-487-2368.