Veterans For Peace/Veterans Peace Team Calls on Police to Cease Aggression Against Peaceful Protesters

July 24, 2012

In June, U.N. envoys called on the U.S. government to protect the rights of peaceful protesters. However, the rights to free speech and freedom of assembly to demand redress of grievances by the government continue to be met instead with police violence and efforts to intimidate and deter protesters. From Seattle to Los Angeles to Minneapolis to New York, police are increasing their aggression towards peaceful Occupy protesters by their presence in large numbers dressed in riot gear, the use of weapons such as rubber bullets and pepper spray and escalating charges against those who are arrested.

In June, U.N. envoys called on the U.S. government to protect the rights of peaceful protesters. However, the rights to free speech and freedom of assembly to demand redress of grievances by the government continue to be met instead with police violence and efforts to intimidate and deter protesters. From Seattle to Los Angeles to Minneapolis to New York, police are increasing their aggression towards peaceful Occupy protesters by their presence in large numbers dressed in riot gear, the use of weapons such as rubber bullets and pepper spray and escalating charges against those who are arrested.

Recently in New York, Occupiers who walked 99 miles from the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia to New York City as part of the Guitarmy March were greeted with police aggression.

These recent events come on the heels of possible high profile entrapments of Occupiers in alleged incidents in Chicago and Cleveland. All of this seems to be a co-ordinated law enforcement clampdown against Occupy.

Tarak Kauff, a U.S. Army veteran, a member of Veterans For Peace and one of the founders of the Veterans Peace Team, says, “We are now and always have been a country led by wealthy politicians and business interests addicted to war and violence as a source of wealth and power. They instigated and waged war on indigenous peoples living relatively peacefully on this continent and the wars have continued unabated from there. Violence now permeates practically every aspect of our culture but we are seeing it manifested most by those who carry weapons and badges, those very people and institutions we depend upon to ‘keep the peace.'”

Veterans For Peace and the Veterans Peace Team call on law enforcement officers to use restraint, common sense and negotiation when encountering peaceful protesters and to cease using violence upon them. We recognize that individual law enforcement personnel are working people, and we urge them not to protect the vested corporate interests exploiting people and poisoning the planet, but to honor their commitment to serve and protect the people.

The Veterans Peace Team (VPT) was created earlier this year “to nonviolently confront, document, and thereby expose the inherent or actual violence of those institutions that would use violence to impose their will on others.” The Veterans Peace Team is a national project of Veterans For Peace in response to increasing police and other law enforcement crackdowns on peaceful Occupy encampments and marches.

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