York: October 18th Coalition Postpones Protest

The permit has been issued; an understanding between civil authorities and demonstrators has been reached, but the organizers for the "Free the Detainees! End the Occupations!" rally set for October 18th have decided to postpone the event.

"The message of violated human rights has been overshadowed in the press by the wrangling over permits and the overblown concern about some of the participating organizations," said Keith Dobson, an organizer for the event. "It's not our intention to make people uncomfortable about our protest. We would rather make them uncomfortable about the injustice of 800 people being imprisoned in their community without the kind of legal protections anyone in America should be able to expect."

Citing the concerns of some endorsers over the need for broader local support and participation as a reason for postponing, Ben Price--another event organizer--stated, "there is obviously a grassroots commitment to opposing the kind of injustice that's been institutionalized since September 11th, 2001. York City passed an anti-Patriot Act ordinance that recognizes community concern about overreaching federal restrictions of civil and human rights. We know there are many people who would like to stand up for the victims of blind fear who have been imprisoned without just cause. But we have not yet convinced the people of York County of our good intent. In fact, Springettsbury Township adopted an ordinance placing new restrictions on the rights of citizens to assemble, apparently in reaction to our plans to protest at the prison and at Caterpillar. It was an over-reaction that took focus away from our message and basic rights away from the citizens of the township. That's NOT the kind of effect we want to have. So we intend to step back, let the community think, and we'll regroup for another date in the near future. Hopefully, with much broader support for an issue of wide human concern, we can reschedule our protest against the poor treatment of fellow humans in our neighborhood with some new, local allies."

The coalition organzing the demontration to "Free the Detainees! End the Occupations" rally is calling on local community activists and organizations opposing the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) policies of incarcerating immigrants to attend a re-organizational meeting on October 19th at 6 PM at the office of Coalition for Immigrants' Rights at the Community Level (CIRCLe) at 418 W. Market St. Friends from the peace community, churches, synagogues and mosques, progressive organizations and political parties, youth groups, schools and universities, and all concerned citizens are invited to send delegates to coordinate and organize a legal, peaceful rally at the York prison, where we will publicly state our case for rights vs the false security of repression.

To learn more about the issues, there will also be a free teach-in on October 18th at York College at the Mac Recital Hall from 9AM to 5:30 PM. Leada Dietz, with People for Peace and Justice - York, encourages people to attend, "The focus is on the Middle East and the USA Patriot ACT and the proposed VICTORY Act. The keynote 'Transforming the Middle East: U.S. Dominance, the Road Map, and the New Imperial Vision' will be given by author Rahul Mahajan." Speaking on the Patriot ACT will be Paula Knudsen, the mid state American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer. Abul Hasan from Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) will speak on the status of muslim civil rights post 9-11. Alicia Lucksted will also be speaking on the Afghan women's organization RAWA. The teach-in sponsored by the People for Peace and Justice - York, York College chapters of Amnesty International, ACLU as well as the Gender Studies Group, History and Political Science Club. For more information about the teach-in, call 717-848-5033.