Two quick updates from the US:
In Michigan, Harold “HH” Gonzalez, who was threatened with up to two years in solitary confinement for his role as a spokesperson for the Kinross uprising, has now been told that he’s due to be released from solitary as a result of public pressure. In his words:
“Considering the unchecked entity we are battling, I consider this a major victory. Your right also that this early release is not due to ‘good behavior,’ when I was called out on the 24th and told I would be released, I was told that it was not their choice if it was left to them we would have had to do 2 years in seg. It was you guys, all the support that has been given to us caused it. You had an entity that thrives on invisibility and obscurity, public attention is the last thing they want.”
In a more disturbing development, the hundreds of people given felony riot charges after being arrested at Trump’s inauguration have now had several other charges added on: inciting to riot, rioting, conspiracy to riot, and destruction of property. About half of the defendants are also charged with the same count of assault on a police officer.
“This is punitive charging: the intention is clearly to terrorize the defendants into taking plea deals so that these inflated charges will never come to trial.
Adding additional felony charges to hundreds of defendants rounded up in a mass arrest is unprecedented in the contemporary US legal system. It marks a dramatic escalation in the repression of protest in this country. Essentially, over two hundred people swept up for being in the vicinity of a confrontational protest are being accused of breaking the same handful of windows.
Imagine if everyone in the vicinity of an Occupy or Black Lives Matter demonstration at which a little property destruction took place had been charged with eight felonies. Thousands of people would have charges now. If the prosecution is able to set this precedent for blanket intimidation and collective punishment, it will mark a significant step in the rise of tyranny.
This case is of concern not only for the hundreds who face these charges, but to the tens of thousands who might face similarly indiscriminate prosecution if the prosecution is able to set this example.”
You can download flyers about the situation to give to people from here, donate to support the defendants’ legal costs here, and there’s also a statement of solidarity further down the same page that you or your group can sign by emailing J20endorsements@protonmail.com.