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Report Back From Tacoma ICE Protest (Day 1)

by Smash ICE
Report Back:
Preface: Prior to the protest, the Pitch Pipe Infoshop was accused of being a homeland security threat. The TPD attempted to terrify everyone Downtown and make them believe the people involved in the protest were dangerous "terrorists." In the morning, a police helicopter and a police plane were circling the Pitch Pipe Infoshop.


On Friday, the 9th of November, a group of 100 converged on the park at the corner of 17th and Pacific in Tacoma. While waiting there, surrounded by the mainstream media and the police, black clad anarchist "terrorists" passed out literature to an extremely receptive public. Contrary to what the Tacoma News Tribune reported, massive numbers of people were eager to take the pamphlets explaining what was going on around them giving information about the ICE concentration camp in the Tideflats. Footage which will soon be released will show this.

After rallying for an hour, the group of black clad "terrorists" marched on the sidewalk through Downtown, exhausting its supply of literature. Its first stop was the Wells Fargo tower. The group outflanked the idiotic riot police who were only blocking one entrance to the tower plaza and hovered there for a while. After this, the group continued on its way. On the sidewalk.

While remaining on the sidewalk, the group MADE the police shut down Pacific Avenue for them. Because the group was heavily followed the whole time, the police did all of the shutting down themselves. Smash ICE would like to thank the Tacoma Police Department for doing EXACTLY what we wanted and exposing their heavy-handed, terroristic tactics to the population of Tacoma. The population of Tacoma, in case you had not noticed, utterly despises the TPD.

The Light Link Rail WAS in fact shut down for 40 minutes, as the police were warning business owners of. But it was shut down by the police themselves. For 5 hours the group stayed on the sidewalk with the cops paralyzing traffic around them.

At one intersection, the terrorist police singled out and attacked a member of the group without provocation. Video of this will be released as well. Another person was arrested at this intersection.

The group returned to Wells Fargo. There, once again, the police arbitrarily attacked someone (link to footage: ). This was the last arrest of the day. No one in the group did ANYTHING illegal, as the police had said they would. The protest ended at 4:30 after having started at 11. Everyone dispersed. The anarchist "terrorists" went home.


The government is waging an intense propaganda campaign against the Pitch Pipe Infoshop and those opposed to the existence of ICE. In order to counter their pathetic attempts at marginalizing our efforts, Smash ICE would encourage people to spread this information as widely as possible.

In the Tacoma News Tribune, an editorial about how nice the detention center was came out the day after the protest (link to article: ). The author, Kathleen Merryman, is a talentless stooge of the government and should be despised for the parasite that she is.

The main story from the Tribune needs no expounding on by Smash ICE. Just read it. (Link to article: ). It is a BLATANT creation of propagandists determined to make the ICE Detention Center into a cozy halfway spot between people's families and the ruined countries they have fled from and to make the people who are against this Detention Center into marginal, crazy people.

Of course there was no mention in the paper that the TPD has been calling people terrorists and trying to get them evicted. That is because the Tribune is part of the government's media. But we are telling you these things (Link to related articles below). So now that you know these things, tell everybody.

A report back from Day 2 will be coming shortly.

To the government:



Smash ICE

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I would like to clear up at least the part that I saw of this event:

At the corner of Commerce and 11th protesters began marching across the crosswalk. They then continued to circle through all 4 crosswalks in the intersection, blocking traffic. After a minute or two the police blocked off a part of their ring by rearing up their bikes in between them and the protesters. This cleared the intersection allowing traffic to proceed.

All but one of the protesters peacefully stopped at the bikes before marching on down to Pacific. One ran past the bikes to a single cop, and started taking swings at him. Several other cops surrounded and cuffed him. He was lead to the van with no limp, no blood, and nothing else that indicated any sort of brutality. One reporter (i think) was attempting to push herself in with the cops with a camera, and she was arrested as well. I wasn't close enough to hear what happened. All I know is someone was trying to talk to her (ask her not to jump in where she could get elbowed maybe?), and she was soon after cuffed and lead to the van.

The picture I am attatching is from my window. Note the ~30-50 protesters (not 100) peacefully being blocked from the intersection with no threatening mannor. No guns drawn. No beat downs. Just a physical barricade to restore traffic flow. It saddens me to see reporting about how OTHER media sources do not report the truth.
by Smash ICE
The person who took the above photo either worked in one of the corporate buildings or was a cop. Everything this person related is a complete fabrication. There were people scattered all over at the time the above picture was taken and does not reflect how many people were actually there. This picture and comment have not appeared on any other Indymedia site aside from San Diego IMC. This comment is an attempt to devalue our actions to the people at the No Border Camp who might be reading this. No one took any swings. The streets were paralyzed for hours. We had some of our people arrested, but we still accomplished our objectives.


-Smash ICE
by The Common Language Project (repost)

Last Friday 50 protesters, 50 police officers, and about 50 representatives of the media turned out in downtown Tacoma at a protest against the Northwest Detention Center, an ICE (formerly INS) facility for immigration detainees.

In this CLP blog and audio slideshow, get a feel for the protest and just what was happening in Tacoma last Friday.


In Your Backyard

Tacoma Demonstrates Against Northwest Detention Center

By Sarah Stuteville November 12 , 2007

Tacoma, WASHINGTON--It’s visiting day at the Northwest Detention Center. The facility, opened three years ago to hold undocumented people awaiting deportation, is set among a tangle of industrial roads near downtown Tacoma. A distant midday sun reflects new spirals of razor wire circling the low grey building as a middle-aged Sikh man and a frightened looking Hispanic family approach the line of police armed with plastic handcuffs and padded gear, here to guard the entrance against today’s planned protests.

Up above the industrialized tide flats of Tacoma a small group of maybe 40, mostly young people, march against the detention center, against all of the new detention centers being built in America today. They say they are marching against a rising tide of xenophobia in this country.

Some of them call themselves anarchists. Their black hoodies, bandana masks and anti-corporate placards strike a surprisingly militant silhouette against a gentrifying downtown, against the new crop of chain restaurants, shiny condos and corporate art that have come to signify urban renewal in twenty-first century America.

For many in this region this band of protestors, with their pamphlet promises of shutting down Tacoma and political theater of marching bands and giant puppets are a visceral reminder of the massive anti-globalization riots that gripped Seattle in November of eight years ago. Protests most often recalled alongside the police brutality that accompanied them.

Whatever superficial reaction these activists may inspire, they are insisting on provoking a discussion regarding current U.S. immigration policy. A discussion that predictably died in Congress last summer and seems to have faded from mainstream American consciousness all together.

But whether the mainstream culture is paying attention beyond an occasional dose of Lou Dobbs Tonight, the acceleration of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, formerly INS) raids continue to have dramatic consequences for the millions of undocumented workers in this country, their families and advocates.

And detention centers like the one in Tacoma, run by the GEO Group--a corporation dogged by mismanagement rumors and scandals in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa where it runs some fifty prisons and detention centers--have become a frightening symbol of late night roundups and an increasingly hostile climate for undocumented workers in The United States.

A young man--a shadow in black--wearing a mask, sunglasses and gloves appears at my side halfway through the day’s march.

“Are you Sarah?” he asks under his breath,

“Yeah, who are you?” I say, unnerved.

“Good.” He responds enigmatically before dissolving back into the crowd.

These protestors are scared, a fact I came to understand while trying to gain an interview with the organizers of today’s event via email. I was cryptically told to “look for security in black,” who would be happy to answer my questions.

The reasons they’re scared are revealed slowly over the course of the day as protestor after protestor describes the harassment they received from Tacoma police in the weeks leading up to today. Harassment they say includes threats to close down the pitchpipe infoshop, a new anarchist lending library and community center in downtown Tacoma, and police rounds to neighboring businesses that described these protestors as a “homeland security threat.”

The man in black that knew me by name described it simply when he reappeared at my side for an interview. I had asked him why he was wearing a mask.

“They’re trying to catalogue everyone’s faces,” he said frankly, motioning towards police ghosting the crowd with video and still cameras. “That’s why I’m wearing a mask.”

Tacoma onlookers seemed to have a mixed view of the demonstration and demonstrators. Some are contemptuous of the protestors, calling them names. Others seem bemused, openly laughing at them. Still others are curious about the protestors’ message and confused by the police response.

“I don’t understand why the protestors need to be outnumbered by police in riot gear,” said Lynette Reynolds of Roy, Washington who says she came to Tacoma today because she wanted to learn more about the issues surrounding immigration, “I’m neutral and I’m intimidated,” she announced, looking past a throng of protestors towards at least thirty-five riot cops, resplendent in padded riot gear and rubber bullet bandoliers, all grasping angled wooden batons as they protect the entrance of Wells Fargo Bank (a subsidiary of GEO group) and the drums of protest echo off the giant water feature in front of the bank’s entrance.

Towards late afternoon, tensions between police and demonstrators finally resulted in the arrest of two protestors (three were arrested throughout the day). Both of these protestors were pushed into a waiting police van. One young man struggled as his hair was pulled back by arresting police.

“Drama on my lunch hour,” commented one onlooker as the cry of “Viva, Viva anarchista!” rose up through the mesh windows of the paddy wagon.

Back in the Tacoma Tideflats a quieter drama was unfolding as three teenagers were turned away from visiting a friend currently being held at the Northwest Detention Center.

One girl mutters epithets in the direction of the guards who just denied her another visit to her boyfriend, detained here now for a month.

“We just came all the way from Burlington, and they saw one of us looking in the window and they [the detention center guards] said ‘hey you’re looking in the window. Walk away.’”

“My boyfriend’s in there, this is bullshit. ‘Cause we drove fucking far and this is the second time they’ve told us we can’t go in there.

“They’re trying to tell me he isn’t in there when he just called me this morning and said he was.”

Her heavily lined eyes begin to spill over as anger turns to sadness and frustration.

A cold November breeze blows down the unpaved dead end that leads to the detention center. The anonymous gaze of the guard station bears down on us.

“Has he said anything about the conditions in there, about what it’s like?” I ask.

Her friend pulls her hand towards the car.

A half strangled laugh escapes her throat before the car door slams, the engine turns over and the wheels of the dented white sedan they arrived in crunch against gravel as they turn around and drive away.

© 2007 The Common Language Project
by That person from earlier
For the record, I am not against the point of your protest. The reasons I think it is important to clear this up is:
Crying brutality on the part of the cops when they handled the situation very well is not fair to them.
I don't want anyone to think that speaking out about current government policies means you will get the crap beat out of you. It is intimidating, and I think making police brutality look more prevalent than it is discourages people from speaking up.
Police brutality is not the point of the protest. Making it a focal point defeats the purpose because the brutality becomes the news, not the message.
Media is biased. It doesn't matter what media. People should always be a bit skeptical.

Like I said, most of the protesters were non violent. I am not trying to start a fight. I am not trying to discourage anyone. Please understand this.

FYI, you will not see that picture in any media sources, cause it was just a camera in our office.
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