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Raising The Stakes In D.C.: Justice For Mumia

By staff

Washington, D.C. – 1,000 people descended on the Supreme Court, February 28, demanding a new trial for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Protestors blocked traffic and clogged the streets in a civil disobedience action. Police arrested 185 people. The Washington D.C. demonstration coincided with a protest in San Francisco where 166 people were arrested for jamming the streets around the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African American journalist and revolutionary, is on Pennsylvania's death row for a crime he did not commit.

These protests are a move to increase the pressure on the government while Mumia's attorneys make what might be their final bid to have new evidence heard, and to win a new trial based on that evidence.

Organizer Zeno Wood stressed, “Now that Mumia's case is in the Federal courts, there are clear targets in every city across the country. Every city has a Federal building that we can organize rallies, protests and even civil disobedience at. We can send a clear message to Judge Yohn who is reviewing Mumia's case and to the Federal government that we aren't going to allow Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to execute Mumia.”

In New York, a broad coalition of organizations participated in the planning for the D.C. action, including the Student Liberation Action Movement, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), anti-death penalty activists, Crusaders for Mumia, and Refuse and Resist. They were joined by contingents from across the country including the Howard Law School, Amnesty International, and student groups from Vassar, Bard, George Washington and American Universities along with high school students from many locales.

Following their arrest, 10 women from Crusaders for Mumia (a lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender affinity group) were singled out and strip-searched, which is against standard police procedure and court rulings.

One activist from New York, who participated in both the D.C. action and a July 4 civil disobedience stated, “These actions are vital contributions to raising the stakes against the death penalty and winning a new trial for Mumia.” She continued, “But it's also essential for us to continue reaching out to churches, block associations, and trade union locals, educating them about the racist nature of the death penalty and how Mumia's case warrants a new trial.”

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