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NYC activists stand in solidarity with Durham

By staff |
September 13, 2017
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On left, Michela Martinazzi, of the FRSO with Larry Holmes, of WWP.
On left, Michela Martinazzi, of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization with Larry Holmes, of Worker’s World Party. (Fight Back! News / Erik McGregor)

New York, NY — On Sept. 12, around 100 activists gathered in Columbus Circle in solidarity with the Durham, North Carolina activists who a month before tore down a statue of a Confederate soldier.

On August 14, Worker’s World Party comrades tore down a statue in response to the Neo-nazi and white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since then, Durham activists have faced political repression in the form of raids and are currently awaiting trial.

Last night’s rally and march was part of a series of solidarity events happening throughout the country on the first day of trials.

The crowd gathered facing the Christopher Columbus statue and held signs saying, “Drop the charges,” “Stop the witch hunts,” and “Honk to fight racism.”

Taryn Fivek, from Worker’s World Party, and Vijou Bryant, from Bayan USA, led the rally and started it off with chants.

One of the speakers was Michela Martinazzi from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. She spoke about how activists should stand in solidarity with Durham activists, and she brought up the Jax5 as an example of fighting political repression. She even touched upon why they were gathered in Columbus Circle: “You see, the Confederacy may have died, but white supremacy is alive and thriving. It's built in the very fabric of our society — from our laws to these disgusting monuments that decorate this country.

“Behind me, we have pioneer who opened the doors for genocide, colonization and white supremacy on this land. Christopher Columbus was the harbinger of death. He's the original American murderer.”

Larry Holmes, a leader of Worker’s World Party, spoke about Charlottesville and said, “We will remember Heather [Heyer]. She will live forever. We are in solidarity with the anti-fascist forces and antifa. I was told that if it wasn’t for antifa in Charlottesville, a lot more people may have been killed or hurt. Stop the attacks on antifa, especially in the left.”

He continued the speech by touching upon the Durham fighters, “We demand that all charges against these wonderful militants in Durham, North Carolina who carried out that righteous act be dropped immediately. They did nothing criminal. They should be celebrated. They should be honored — we should follow their example!”

The rally finished around 8 p.m. and the crowd marched down to Times Square.

Throughout the event, there was a high police presence. Over two dozen NYPD officers, a van, and several police cars followed activists as they marched. A couple of blocks down, they began playing a loudspeaker warning activist that they could get arrested if deemed necessary. Two arrests occurred that night. The arrests were followed by chants of, “FTP! Fuck the police!” and “How do you spell racist? NYPD!”

The march ended in Times Square with activists chanting Assata Shakur’s famous words.

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