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Queer-bashing at LGBT Center
On Thursday 2.6.03. numerous activists were beaten by the SFPD while staging a peaceful protest in front of the LGBT Center. Four were arrested, and two are still in jail with felony charges and need your support.
QUEERS GATHER TO PEACEFULLY PROTEST
On the evening of Thursday February 6th, a group of queer protesters gathered outside the LGBT Center to protest the appearance of District Supervisor Gavin Newsom at a fundraiser sponsored by him and his wife. The protesters gathered there to call attention to his racist and classist policies, and to ask The Center why they would accept this influence from someone who is obviously trying to exploit the powerful gay vote. Protesters had been peacefully flyering people walking into the LGBT Center as Gavin and Kimberly were escorted into The Center by a squad of SFPD officers. They were barely noticed by the protesters until they had entered the building.
Well after they had entered, a group of queer activists calmly attempted to enter what was supposedly "their center" in order to bring these issues up with Gavin as well as Center officials. At this time, the police presence became more and more violent. One demonstrator, standing with his back to The Center, and the line of police officers, was shoved harder and harder by police wielding batons. He was eventually shoved face first onto the ground.
COPS BASH QUEERS IN FRONT OF GAY CENTER
As the protesters tried to prevent more violence from occuring, the police incited a melee which spilled onto the street at Market and Octavia, and began beating and arresting people at random as Center officials complacently stood by and watched.
After the police were done, many had been injured. One person even had to seek medical attention because her face was bloodied and her tooth was knocked out by a particularly aggressive officer, star number1698. Ironically, Newsom and his spokespeople are trying to spin the events as a physical attack on him and his wife, despite the fact that the SFPD was solely responsible for the escalation of the situation.
FALSE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST ACTIVISTS
Four people were arrested and charged, and two people are still being held for felonies. We are outraged at this excessive response to a peaceful situation. These charges are excessive and ridiculous for any protest. They are an obvious attempt to distract attention from the absurd reality that queers were bashed by the SFPD in front of the LGBT center. We want to call special attention to Gavin Newsom’s direct involvement in this police violence, and The Center’s complicity regarding it.
WE DEMAND THAT THESE POLITICAL PRISONERS BE RELEASED AND THEIR CHARGES BE DROPPED
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Call District Attorney Terrence Hallinan immediately and demand that all charges against all four activists be dropped. 415.553.1752.
Call 415.553.1741 and reference the case that occurred at 1800 Market Street at 7:00 pm on 2.6.03.
Call The Center and ask them why they stood by and watched as queer bashing occurred in front of their doors, and why queers were prevented from entering what is supposedly "their center" on that night. 415.865.5555.
This is not the same thing as calling your representatives. Enough people making these quick phone calls can actually make a huge difference in what happens to these four activists. Please take 3 minutes and make the phone calls, after copying & pasting this article and forwarding it to everyone you know.