PHILADELPHIA—The demonstrations here continued today with a sit-in at the mayor’s office.
R2K attorneys report that 390 demonstrators remain in prison. Some 55 have been released, often on their own recognizance, but held responsible for bail ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. Some people simply have been escorted to the jail entrance and told to go. There is confusion over IDs, photos of the wrong people, and paperwork snafus.
A spokesman for the legal defense team said those who’ve been arrested report that arraignments are proceeding slowly and in secret. A prisoner is brought before a judge in the presence of a prosecutor and an unknown public defender attorney. Members of the press have been excluded except for one reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Members of the R2K legal defense team have also been excluded.
In the jail, 150 people are on hunger strike. Male prisoners who have removed their clothes in protest have allegedly been dragged naked face down through a shallow trough used to drain water when the cells are hosed down. One female guard twisted a male prisoner’s penis as he was being pulled along, according to the R2K spokesman.
Charges so far appear to be misdemeanors, but there is talk of racketeering charges along the lines of those brought against the demonstrators in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention.
R2K spokesmen say police set up the confrontations Tuesday during the afternoon rush hour, by raiding a warehouse where demonstrators were making puppets. The cops arrested the so-called peacekeepers—that is, protesters in charge of making sure demonstrators didn’t break laws.
Rebecca Hill, a recently graduated doctoral student from New York, was taking part in a demo, trying to help shield a group that had linked itself together in a display of nonviolent civil disobedience Tuesday. When the police rushed in, she says, a cop moved his bike practically on top of her and said, “If you touch my bike you’re gonna bite it.” She says she asked him: “What do you mean, you’re going to shoot me?” She reports that he snapped, “Figure it out.”
Hill said she was arrested at 5:15 p.m. and held on a police bus with other prisoners for five hours with the windows rolled up and the heat turned on. A policeman took her bottle of water and emptied it against a window in front of her, she said. Finally, she continued, after a prisoner on another bus passed out from dehydration, the doors were opened and they were let off. She was then put into a five-by-seven cell. She said most people were very cooperative, anxious to be fingerprinted, giving out their names and so on, from the beginning. She said most in the women’s cell block wanted to cooperate, but even after giving out their names, they were not arraigned. She was finally released Friday morning at 1 a.m.