Asheville (NC) under attack with snatch squads

Police snatching Occupy Asheville participants in retaliation for Oakland solidarity march by occupy Sunday Nov 6th, 2011 2:24 PM

On Nov 2nd over 100 people took to the streets of Asheville, NC in a fun, spirited and family friendly march to show support for Occupy Oakland and their general strike. People of all ages from toddlers to grandparents participated in the march carrying banners reading, “We are all Scott Olsen” and “Asheville is Oakland, Oakland is Asheville”. The march was the largest protest to take the streets in Asheville without a permit since the Iraq War started in 2003. By all accounts it was a well received and empowering event for those that participated in it. Unless that
is you are the Asheville Police Department.

Though the APD did little to stop the march, they did bring out dozens of officers, including the forensics team and undercover officers to video and photograph Asheville residents expressing their First Amendment rights. The APD has done this sort of unconstitutional surveillance for years at all types of protests. However this time is different. Starting Saturday Nov 5 the APD began grabbing Occupy Asheville participants off the streets that they claim they identified from police footage of the march. So far 7 have been arrested, and the police say there are many more arrests on the way. They are being charged with resisting public officers, impeding traffic,
unlawful assembly. One person has an additional charge of wearing a mask in public.

This is a truly frightening assault on the right to protest in this country. The APD is utilizing the very same tactics that the repressive regimes of countries like Iran, Libya, and Egypt have used against their people. If marchers were breaking the law, why did they not arrest us on November 2nd? It is clear that the APD wants to create a state of fear and to conduct their operations behind the scenes, away from the cameras. We won’t let them do that. We will not go silently.

We are calling on our fellow Occupiers around the country to demonstrate in solidarity with Occupy Asheville and demand an end to the APD’s witch hunt. Make some noise for Asheville. Occupy Asheville will be rallying at 5pm on Wednesday, Nov 9th at the Vance Monument to demand an end to police repression and to show that we will not be silenced. Please support us by
flooding the mayor and DA’s office with calls and emails all day and demand that all charges be dropped and that those responsible for this police operation be held accountable for violating our rights.

Mayor Terry Bellamy:
Phone: (828) 259-5600
Fax: (828) 259-5499
E-mail: mayorbellamy [at] avlcouncil.com

District Attorney Ron Moore
Phone: 828-259-3410
Fax: 828-259-3411

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