We went out today to protest peacefully and were once again, met with riot police. Except this time, it was a small army of police. We counted approximately 10 riot vans, between 25-35 riot police officers with full on riot gear, and two police helicopters. As soon as we began marching, riot police began intimidating us by banging their batons to their shields. We held our ground but within literally 2 minutes they ran full force ahead slamming their shields onto us and began beating us with their batons.
The first victim of today’s police brutality was a young man peacefully chanting. He was right in front of us as police descended onto the crowd. They beat him with batons repeatedly and so forcefully that he fell to the ground and barely manged to crawl to the back of our line and seek medical attention.
It was chaos, they began beating protestors on our far right and slamming into us from all around. This happened multiple times before the police then shot a beanbag gun directly into the crowd while standing only 5 feet away.
Moments later we decided to keep moving as a crowd and get all protestors to safety. Only when we got there we found out countless other protestors had severe injuries from being beaten by riot cops. One woman had her shin broken. Another man sat on the curb, holding his leg which was visibly swollen to a large degree, were not sure if it too was broken.
The whole encounter with the police lasted approximately 1 hour. We then sent everyone home to ensure their safety.
The narrative we’ve seen on the news tonight is that we were “volatile” and “dangerous” and police were protecting the streets. We want to make it clear that we are NEVER violent. We are NEVER armed. If anyone accuses us of destroying property, ask yourself this, why are you so concerned with protecting broken property over broken bones.
And we want to make it clear that there was NO RIOTING on our part. Things only got violent with riot cops showed up and escalated the situation. They blocked of huge portions of the city, had two helicopters in the air and made a huge scene all across downtown even though our group today was small. This is a tactic to make the people believe we are dangerous and instill fear in citizens so the police can then look like heroes.
The truth is we had a small group of peaceful protestors who were met with riot cops and violence. We were brutalized without justification simply for demanding justice for Bernardo.