Chicago, IL - While the eyes of the world are on Chicago and the upcoming NATO summit, 40 protesters spoke out May 16 against the FBI frame-up of Carlos Montes, demanding the charges against him be dropped. Montes is a prominent Los Angeles Chicano civil rights and immigrant rights activist and a leader in the anti-war movement.
Supporters say the charges against Montes are politically motivated. “Stop the frame-ups, stop the lies; Carlos Montes committed no crimes!” echoed off the walls of the Dirksen Federal Building. The Chicago Coalition Against Political Repression protests there because that is where a Chicago grand jury is investigating 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists. The case against Montes stems from this same investigation. The group held signs and chanted, “Hands off Carlos Montes, drop the charges now!” and “Opposing war is not a crime!”
Jess Sundin, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) said, "The attack on Carlos is an attack on the anti-war movement and is linked to the FBI repression of myself and other anti-war activists who organized the mass protests outside the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota." Sundin invited the crowd to join the massive rally and march against NATO planned for Sunday, May 20 at the Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park. Montes will speak at the rally and will join a large contingent near the front of the march, with the CSFR as well as allies from the Palestinian, Filipino, Puerto Rican and other communities.
Muhammad Sankari, of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network said, “We are here at the door step of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Assistant Barry Jonas, men who have been making their careers by attacking and repressing the Arab and Muslim communities in the U.S. These are men who lock up our community leaders for providing backpacks and shoes to Palestinian orphans.” In his remarks, he praised the contributions of Carlos Montes, alongside those of Palestinian hunger strikers, Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez and many others.
Magda Canstañeda of CAPR lead chants early in the rally and then addressed the crowd in Spanish and English. She warned that if activists fail to defend Montes and the other targeted activists, then everyone is at risk for repression.
When Sara Flounders spoke for the International Action Center, she praised Carlos Montes and the 23 grand jury resisters for their strength in the face of political repression.
One of the 23 activists targeted by the FBI and grand jury investigation of anti-war and international solidarity activists, Hatem Abudayyeh, closed the rally by asking everyone present to take out their phones and call Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley at 213-974-3512. Several callers got busy signals, but pledged to keep calling. A few got through and demanded District Attorney Steve Cooley “Drop the charges against Carlos Montes!”