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Police attack Dallas protest for George Floyd

By staff

DAARPR co-coordinator Jennifer Miller addresses the crowd of protesters.

The Dallas Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression brought about 2500 people to the streets of downtown Dallas May 30 to protest for justice for George Floyd and Atatiana Jefferson. The protest was eventually broken up when police attacked it with dozens of tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and concussion grenades.

Protesters met at city hall, convened by DAARPR co-coordinator Jennifer Miller at 1:30 p.m., though they had been assembling for some time. The crowd was also addressed by veteran organizer Olinka Green, who emphasized the need for Black and brown people to unite in the struggle against racism. Norma Ochoa, whose grandson Jose Cruz was killed by a Farmers Branch police officer in 2016, also spoke to the crowd, saying that she was there to demand justice for George Floyd because she knew the pain his family was going through. The crowd, which was mostly not Spanish-speaking, responded by chanting “justicia.”

The crowd marched through Dallas once, returned to city hall, and then marched again, growing the whole time. During the second march, Jennifer Miller stopped thousands of people in the middle of a key downtown intersection, Lamar and Main Street, to give a lengthy address on the connections between police abuse and the oppression of immigrants and the need to abolish ICE.

After the crowd returned to city hall, police decided to act against it. They first deployed about ten officers with riot gear, but when the crowd did not immediately disperse, those officers left. The next information the crowd had about police plans was when they heard the pop of exploding tear gas canisters. Protesters fled as quickly as possible. Some were affected by the tear gas. One woman on crutches could not flee quickly enough and had to be carried by other protesters.

Protesters were first driven behind city hall. Some managed to leave, but a second wave of police attacks drove the remaining protesters through the city streets. People who were trying to leave were prevented by police from getting to their cars, threatened with arrests for loitering if they stopped, and periodically tear gassed for no obvious reason.

However, as afternoon gave way to night, more and more people began to arrive in downtown Dallas. What had begun as an organized demonstration gave way to spontaneity. Crowd estimates at this point range as high as 10,000. Protesters began hurling tear gas canisters back at police, and building makeshift barricades from plywood taken from buildings.

As of this writing, it is not clear how this will end.

Another protest is planned for tomorrow, and organizers are talking about a week of actions.

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