August 4th, in Oakland is My Pretrial Hearing for Protesting at the Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley
A Letter to the WCW Community and Friends From Stephanie Tang
Next week I go to court for a pretrial hearing in a case stemming from World Can’t Wait’s ongoing Berkeley protests at the Marine Recruiting Station (MRS). I write to ask for the support of our whole community to fight for this politically-charged and motivated case to get dropped, right now. There is no way I should be threatened with a year in jail for organizing protest and resistance against the military recruiters, this endless and murderous war/occupation, torture, and the whole Bush regime program.
As many of you may know, during WCW’s persistent and spirited protests at the MRS, the Berkeley police have repeatedly attacked us with harsh and often violent tactics (that by the way, totally belie Berkeley being a city officially opposed to the war!). Both WCW and Code Pink have received much repressive harassment. And WCW’s rallies and actions (which have all been nonviolent, and usually have permits) have been repeatedly assaulted by the police. In lovely downtown Berkeley, cops in full riot gear charge the crowd, destroy sound equipment, and generally create a whole scenario meant to intimidate both the protestors and our public support.
It was in one of these WCW protests on February 22 that I was injured by a Berkeley police officer, who hit me so hard I flew head first into a brick wall. Some days later, I received notification by mail that I was being charged with obstruction of an officer. The charge carries a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. My pretrial hearing is set for Monday, August 4, at the Alameda County Superior Court.
World Can’t Wait fully supports me in fighting to get this totally trumped-up charge dropped. It is important to note that although several protestors have been arrested at the MRS (either for civil resistance/civil disobedience or other nonviolent actions), everyone else’s charges have either been dropped or never even filed. So I am the only protestor actually facing any charges. I am known as a leader of the local World Can’t Wait movement by the community – and by the police – which may factor into the authorities’ approach to my case.
I know many of you (if not personally, yet) because together we have been working tirelessly: to stop this intolerable war and occupation – to prevent the next U.S. escalation in the Middle East; the threatened war against Iran – to refuse the complicity of silence in the face of state-sanctioned torture – to say the whole Bush Regime program must be repudiated, resisted, and reversed. And although Bush himself may be nearing the end of his White House residency, our determination and our demands will have to grow even stronger, more than ever, whoever the next president of the empire may be.
So, friends, I’m asking you to join me to take my court case and make it yet another way all of us can stand up to resist this intolerable war and occupation, and the whole Bush trajectory along with it.
What can you do to help?
* PACK THE COURTROOM -- be there with me for the pretrial hearing. When anyone faces criminal charges for political activism, it is so important to show that this is not a lone individual, but that we are a large, united community. Your presence makes visible that our protest and resistance will not be silenced, because it’s absolutely right to oppose these recruiters and this war.
MONDAY, AUG. 4, 2008
Dept. #104, Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse Criminal Div.
661 Washington St.
Oakland, CA 94607
* CONTRIBUTE TO THE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND today. Several thousand dollars in legal fees and expenses must be covered very soon. We ask you to DONATE WHAT YOU CAN and forward this email ASKING OTHERS to join you.
Write checks to “World Can’t Wait” – write “legal fund” in the memo line
Mail to World Can’t Wait, 2940-16th St., Rm. 200-6, San Francisco CA 94103
* EMAIL ME at: sf [at] worldcantwait.org
if you can help in other ways – WCW wants to get this case widely known through the press and through outreach to many communities. Let me know how we can work together to do this.
The World Can’t Wait!
Organizer, SF Bay Area WCW