Update July 5: Bike cops violently raid Occupy ICE Philadelphia, destroying tents and belongings. Occupiers regroup on 8th st., 3PM press conference goes on over din of garbage truck.
On the 2nd of July, Occupy ICE Philadelphia blockaded the ICE office in Philadelphia near Chinatown. This was in solidarity with a vigil at the Berks County detention center where families are beng held. A police assault on the camp the next day gained access to the parking garage but failed to dislodge the camp. On the 5th of July, bike cops violently evicted the camp and destroyed personal belongings
Towards the evening of July 4th, the focus was on teach-ins at the campsite on 8th st in front of ICE. There was a broad consensus around the full-fledged “abolish ICE” line, and speaker after speaker connected ICE to the rest of US policing. The origins of US police departments in slave patrols came up at one point. Those who do not have cushy jobs lined up with the Democratic party need not fear demanding that ICE be totally abolished, just as the Democrats sipping their lattes at Starbucks don’t pay Philly’s soda tax. In fact, that tax came up as an example of taxes on the poor that exempt the rich at one point in the teach-in.
When the occupation started on the 2nd of July, some of the ICE gestapo agents had the nerve to ask “so you’re going to keep us prisoner?” Another whined about wanting to get home to his own family. Well, if they told protesters they were quitting their jobs they would no doubt have been escorted out so they could go home. No such consideration is shown to migrant children. Also on July 2, bike cops attempted to segment the crowd until protesters formed a bike line of their own to block them out.
The July 3 police assault was more determined, and led to dozens of arrests as activists defended tents set up blocking access to the ICE building from all directions. Considerable force was used, but the assault was only partially successful. Cops managed to force access to the back side of the building, but were unable to hold Cherry Street or get rid of the camp itself.
The July 5th police assault was bike cops again, attacking from the area near the back door that cops had held since the failed Tuesday attempt to clear the camp. They used their bikes held sideways as bulldozers to smash down the camp. A number of arrests were reported. Philadelphia unlike DC still demands cash bail to release arrestees prior to final trial dates. The Philadelphia police department has been famous for bike cops since the days of Timoney and the 2000 GOP Convention. Now it is time for the Mayor of Philadelphia to pay the price of trying to work both sides of the street by on the one hand claiming to run a sanctuary city but on the other hand protecting ICE and sharing data with them.
According to NBC News, The Berks County detention center targetted by the origjnal vigil is at the moment the only detention center in the US authorized to hold familes indefinately. There are three others that hold families in detention, but some children at Berks have spend half their lives in detention, subjected to such abuse as bed checks at 15-minute intervals. This kind of sleep denial is a form of torture and justifies the use of the term “concentration camp” to describe the detention centers. The Trump administration is seeking to radically expand the capacity to cage up entire familes, as separating familes has become too hot politically for the GOP to stand the heat in this long, hot Summer of Rage.
Camped out at ICE’s 8th and Cherry office in Philadelphia
Signs posted on ICE’s office
Second floor tenants are not happy to share space with ICE
Banner hang shortly after dark
Unicorn Riot photo of cop at Occupy ICE PHL on June 3. His T-shirt flag mixes Blue Lives Matter and KKK motifs. Crossed billy clubs make the X in the notorious “manhole” image of four hooded Klansmen looking down at someone.
Unicorn Riot photo of activist bike line that put a stop to June 2 (first day) efforts by bicycle police to break the crowd into segments. Bicycle cavalry is under-used by protesters, here we see a successful use of it.
Cropped still from Anna Orso’s Twitter video of the July 5th police raid that essentially bulldozed the camp with bikes held sideways
Huge number of bike cops protecting ICE from the people, just like the horse soldiers of old who enforced US racial policies(Photo by George Ciccariello-Maher)