June 23, 2000 — Houston, Texas, for Immediate Release
Statement from Million for Mumia/ International Action Center:

'Organizers vow to stand strong and maintain anti-death penalty momentum in the face of the biggest legal lynching in the history of the U.S.'

In a statement from Houston this morning, anti-death penalty activist Larry Holmes of Millions for Mumia called last night's execution of Gary Graham (Shaka Sankofa) by the state of Texas "The biggest legal lynching in the history of the United States".

Holmes saw the execution as a clear-cut case of racist government terror tactics. "Everybody knew he was innocent-even the conservative New York Times ran three editorials questioning his guilt. And yet before the eyes of the world, Governor Bush and the reactionary Texas political establishment said, 'We don't care. We'll kill him anyway.' And they did."

Organizers stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum of the anti-death penalty movement at this critical moment in the struggle. Teresa Gutierrez of the International Action Center stated, "What they are doing here is a test, to see what people will let them get away with. They are trying to throw cold water on the fire of this movement, to make people think that there is nothing they can do to stop this killing machine. We need to show them that we will not lie down while they kill our brothers and sisters."

Artist depicts the oppression
of political prisoner Shaka Sankofa.

To download image click on it.

 

Looking ahead to the next stage of the fight against the death penalty, Holmes said, "What freedom loving people all over the world are obliged to do is make sure that Gary Graham (Shaka Sankofa) did not die in vain. We have to turn our deep anger at this crime into a war against the racist death penalty that will end it once and for all. The principle targets in this war must be George Bush, Jr., and the republican convention, but also Al Gore and President Clinton and the Democratic convention. Not only is the Democratic leadership pro-death penalty, but they said nothing to stop this from happening."

In New York, anti-death penalty protesters took to the streets at noon yesterday and were still out in force as Gary Graham's execution was announced at 9:49 pm local time. At noon demonstrators gathered in a picket line at New York Republican Party headquarters at the Roosevelt Hotel, located at 46th St. and Madison Avenue. The lunch- hour crowd of over two hundred people diminished in size during the afternoon, but protesters maintained an energetic and militant presence.

The picket grew again at 5 pm to over four hundred people, and at 5:45, the group began a march to Times Square. At approximately 6 pm the group halted in the middle of the intersection of 42nd St. and Broadway, blocking rush-hour traffic. When the police gave the order to disperse, a group of ten protesters locked arms in the middle of the street, refused to move, and were arrested.

When the execution was announced, protesters began chanting "Shaka lives, fight the power!" and "Avenge Shaka, free Mumia!" Eight people were also arrested in Texas at the massive protest there, and many other solidarity protests took place around the country. Two of the New York arrestees have already been released, and the rest will be arraigned this afternoon and evening.

All ten were charged with blocking traffic, and some with resisting arrest. Activists plan to next target the Republican Convention in Philadelphia and the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles this summer to demand the freedom for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

International Action Center/ National Peoples Campaign/
Millions for Mumia



 

 

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