The concluding action of the No Borders Camp was a rally on both sides of the border right at the Mexicali/Calexico port of entry. The rally included the installation of a cross-border kissing booth, which involved making a hole in the border fence approximately four inches in diameter. With the arrival of the Dept. of Homeland Security Border Patrol in large numbers, the peaceful demonstration was interrupted by police escalation. Border Patrol formed a line between protesters and the wall and then advanced on the crowd without warning, without a dispersal order, and without provocation. Several people were knocked down, one protester was hit repeatedly in the knee caps by several Border Patrol before being detained, and paint-ball guns loaded with pepper spray pellets were used to disperse the crowd. One protester was beaten severely and detained and may or may not be receiving medical attention. Fleeing protesters were then surrounded and detained, before being allowed to disperse in fives. Three protesters have been detained. The No Border Camp IMC is releasing these disturbing example videos, though more extensive footage is being reviewed.
Audio interviews with first hand experiences are here: First hand account with Participant ( espanol / transcript )
I think that people should really understand that the border is a totally militarized zone and that this isn't your normal police repression at a demonstration. This is an occupation force protecting its institutional apparatus of occupation. And that is the real context of what happened today, rather than simple policing tactics.Interview 2 | 3 | Interview with an Organizer
- BP Agent Loses Control in Violent Rage
It is critically important to situate this recent violence within the larger context of border enforcement, for which the violence perpetrated to enforce the border is not exceptional but daily. For the over four hundred migrants buried in Holtville cemetery (since 1994) who died trying evade the very forces we confronted today, this violence is not exceptional but a fact of life and a fact of death. The brutal, uncoordinated, random violence you can watch on the event footage is both symptomatic and systematic. The Border Patrol is not law enforcement, and can only be understood as an occupation force whose mission is to control a contested space. Like all occupation forces, they end up trying to control the conflict they create, and displace the consequences of that control onto the population. The result is a sustained level of violence which tears apart communities, families, neighborhoods, and peoples lives. The occupation of the borderlands is a projection of state values in which peoples lives are acceptable casualties of economic objectives. The cheap exploited labor of the Mexican workers in the Maquiladoras we visited on wednesday were behind the wall we protested all week. Operation Gatekeeper began the same year NAFTA was signed. As the militarization of the border increases in man power and sophistication, so does the extent to which this racist system can jeopardize peoples lives. Our action today both confronts and exposes the violence of the border system, but so long as the holes we put in the fence today are repaired this occupation will continue to enforce a border state in which some lives are worth more than others, in which some people are given choices that others are denied, and in which justice is relativized and racialized.