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Running On Injuries - The Tale Of One Protester Struck By A Rubber Bullet

After the AFL-CIO on the afternoon of Thursday, November 20, members of the bloc and steelworkers tried to approach the security fence around the meetings.

According to Nine, the activists used "physical force" in approaching the fence. The police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, pellet guns, and concussion grenades.

"I was on the front lines and was hit in the knee with a rubber bullet shot from 10 feet away," recounted Nine. "I immediately fell on the ground but medics were able to pull me back about one block, out of immediate harm's way."

However, Nine was very angry about the police use of force and refused treatment from the street medics, instead rejoining the bloc, which had started a fighting retreat north on Biscayne Blvd.

Nine attempted to reach the Wellness Center, a house used by protesters to treat injuries, but the police arrived on the other side of the building and began to raid it.

"I was about 5 feet away when the police attack on the wellness center started," said Nine. "I ran forward [away from the police] and tried to get another medic to help me but I had to move away from the area." Reportedly, the attack on the Wellness Center by the police included the use of pepper spray on people in the midst of receiving medical treatment.

Nine continued, "We pulled metal dividers into the street to try to block the advance of the police and began a snake march. We pulled dumpsters and trash into the street and tried to get back to the fence but were pushed north and west to the railroad tracks. Because of my knee I fell several times."

At this point, the group of protesters, which included steelworkers and community members as well as young activists, had reached the primarily low-income neighborhood of Overtown, which was located between the downtown area of protest activity and the activists' Convergence Center. Nine, who was visably limping, received several offers from community members to hide out in their houses. On the third offer, Nine accepted because his knee gave out.

"One woman at the house I hid in said 'We know you guys are with us, we know you're for people having jobs, we're glad you're doing this,'" reported Nine. "It's important to note that I talked to many community members and apologized for bringing [the chaos and police violence] into the neighborhood but people said 'this community needs this.'"

After about twenty minutes, Nine perceived it to be safe to exit the house and he ran about twenty blocks west before he found some activists in a car. Nine flagged down the activists and got a ride to the Convergence Center. However, the activists were worried that police would raid the Center so Nine hid out in the neighborhood.

"After it was safe to come back my knee was so bad I collapsed several times onto it and was in severe pain," recounted Nine. "At this point, the pain in the knee was so bad that I didn't realize that I was hit four times in the back with rubber bullets and had contusions."

The skin on Nine's knee had been broken by the rubber bullet and there was a large amount of swelling and bruising. Nine's lawyer took pictures and recorded his injuries but Nine thought the lawyer was probably in jail as of Friday evening and therefore Nine didn't know what was going to happen in terms of Nine's complaint.