FOR RELEASE ON Tuesday, MAY 6, 2003:

CONTACT: Collette Carter, (917) 940-7967

                  Hyun Lee, (718) 415-9610

Just the Beginning & Just a Spark  

Protestors vow to Keep Up Pressure Throughout the Week

May 6, 2003 Fifty protestors were arrested Monday, May 5 at the entrance of 26 Federal Plaza. They are part of group called Operation: Homeland Resistance. They will return on Tuesday, May 6 with even more protestors. More arrests are expected. Civil Disobedience actions will take place at 26 Federal Plaza starting at 11am on the morning of Tuesday, May 6. In addition, spontaneous resistance actions will be taking place in various parts of the city over the next few days. Operation Homeland Resistance calls attention to the fact that the that war and occupation abroad, as well as a war at home against immigrants, people of color, and poor people have only just begun despite President s Bush s declaration that war is over.

This is just the beginning & just a spark says Monami Maulik, a protestor and activist from Queens.  The war is not over, and therefore the protests are not over & we will be here everyday if we have to. The US has now fully occupied Iraq & occupations are a part of war, and this occupation is illegal according to international law. We can t forget this fact.

Protestors chose 26 Federal Plaza as a site for their sit-in because it symbolizes a war at home against people of color, especially immigrants who are subject to a new wave of repressive laws administered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), now an integral part of the Department of Homeland Security. Everyday the INS comes up with new ways and reasons to racially profile, monitor, and detain people of color who have nothing to do with this war or terrorism, says Loira Limbal a protestor from Bushwick, Brooklyn. These are innocent community people that the feds are targeting & we can t afford to stay silent anymore.

On Monday, approximately 50 protestors blocked the entrance to the Federal Building, creating a human chain. Police officers responded by pining the protestors in and then swooping in to make mass arrests. Several protestors were dragged or carried off while in handcuffs. Meanwhile, hundreds of immigrant community people waiting on line for entry into INS offices witnessed the arrests, many vocalizing their support for the protestors. As one onlooker observed: The US has spent billions on a war to find weapons of mass destruction. They came up with nothing. They spent millions after September 11 to arrest immigrants suspected of having terrorist ties. They came up with nothing. But they keep going. When is this all going to end?

For at least the next two days more protests are scheduled to take place at 26 Federal Plaza. They will be followed by creative actions across the city. The goal is to give voice to the millions of New Yorkers who oppose the occupation of Iraq and the war at home, but who have been silenced and shut out of the public debate, says Maulik. We want to send a message to the people that they need not be afraid to say no to war and racism. We hope this is the just the beginning of a new wave of protest across the city.

For video footage of the protest and civil disobedience, please contact: Hyun Lee (718) 415-9610
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