Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Detroit Student Action Met With Police Violence

Published Mar 10, 2011 9:41 PM

On March 2 students and and their labor-community allies protested at Wayne State University as part of the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. Sponsored by the student organization By Any Means Necessary, a speakout took place in Gullen Mall, in the center of campus, to denounce Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to cut state spending to WSU by 15 percent; tuition increases; union busting under the guise of privatization; ongoing racist attacks on the Detroit public schools; among other demands.

The students held a banner that read “Solidarity with WI students & workers!” After the speakout protesters marched to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center downtown while being harassed by cops along the entire miles-long route. Undaunted, the protesters faced down the cops even after one cop rammed his patrol car into a youth and ran over his foot. The students kept on marching.

On March 3 another Defend Public Education protest, sponsored by Wayne State students opposed to education cuts, took place at Wayne State with the same issues. Chants included “Bail out the students, not the banks.” When protesters marched through campus buildings with their lead banner that read “Solidarity with WI Students & Workers” while chanting “Out of the classroom, into the streets,” they were physically attacked by campus police who threatened the students and their allies with arrest and attempted to rip their banners. The protesters defied the police lies that campus buildings were private property and marched through a few more campus buildings on their way back to Gullen Mall, where another Defend Public Education protest will take place March 10.

These actions were preceded by a Michigan visit by Larry Hales, a leader of the Defend Public Education coalition and FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together). Hales was in Michigan Feb. 27 to March 1 and spoke to students at Michigan State University, the Arts Academy in the Woods and Wayne State University. He was also the featured speaker at a Feb. 28 Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice meeting in Detroit.

Supporting organizations at both Wayne State protests included MECAWI; the Moratorium NOW! Coalition; National Lawyers Guild-Wayne State Chapter; Organization for a Free Society; the Socialist Party; TrumblePlex; the Union of Part-Time Faculty/American Federation of Teachers Local 477 at WSU; and Workers World Party.

— Report and photo by Bryan G. Pfeifer

No comments: