By Mike Talavera
Last Friday, police arrested seven protesters near Austin Police Department headquarters, including independent journalist Hiram Gilberto Garcia who has been livestreaming anti-police protests in Austin since the May Uprising. In one video posted, police can be seen punching Hiram after throwing him to the ground.
“Hiram was targeted because Hiram is a threat to [the] agenda of saying everything is peaceful and the cops are doing nothing wrong. Hiram is getting live footage everywhere of cops doing bad things and he’s got a huge following,” one protester told local ruling class media.
The following evening, a crowd of over 100 gathered outside the local jail calling for the release of Hiram and the other arrestees, chanting “No Justice, No Peace!” and “Fuck the Police!” At one point, lawyers informed those outside that authorities were locking the jail down and refusing to release the arrestees until the protesters outside left.
Instead of bowing down to this intimidation, the protesters defiantly marched around the jail chanting “We’re not leaving! We’re still here!”
A little before midnight, Hiram and the last of the arrestees were released to a boisterous reception from the crowd.
By targeting livestreamers like Hiram and one of Austin’s Targeted Three, the police are effectively hiding their crimes from the public. APD can count on the press monopoly, which serves the same ruling class, to follow the police narrative of events obediently. Tribune of the People and people’s journalists threaten this “objective” account, exposing police brutality as well as capturing the courage and force of the organized masses.
This censorship of the people’s press in Austin is part of a larger crackdown on protests. In addition to the persecution of the Targeted Three, APD has worked with other law enforcement agencies to track down those suspected of participating in the rebellion of the May Uprising and the protests of the past two months, with the cooperation of the snitches in ruling class media. These people have not been singled out for violent behavior, they’re being marked for what they represent – the need for revolution.
All over the US we see the need for revolution. In Portland this week, thousands took to the streets, taking their outrage out on government buildings and setting a local police union office on fire. The ensuing repression by the Trump administration, which dispatched federal officers to the city, has only further enraged the people of Portland. In New York, police conducted a night raid of a protest encampment outside city hall. In Chicago, protesters injured dozens of police after surrounding a Christopher Columbus statue.
It is not good enough to recognize this need for revolution in the face of increasing repression. Action must be taken. Tribune of the People encourages our readers to join the call made by the Drop the Charges coalition to drop all charges against protesters and to donate to fundraisers to support those who have been arrested. Hiram can be supported via links found on his facebook page.