Sunday, October 5, 2008

While the Bush regime pillages, the people march against the wall in El Paso

While the US economy sinks thanks to the thieves of Wall Street, the people of El Paso continue to fight against the Border Wall

By Carlos Marentes
Censored News

EL PASO, Texas -- While the Bush regime was rewarding 700 billion dollars to the thieves responsible for the financial pillage, we completed another week of daily protests against the border wall.
While Bush was giving away taxpayers' money to Wall Street, with the enthusiastic support of both Democrats and Republicans, and of course Obama and McCain, we intensified our acts of opposition against the infamous 7.5 million dollars per mile wall being built by the Kiewit Corporation of Omaha, Nebraska. Kiewit is not only one of the largest recipients of juicy government contracts, but the CEO of Kiewit was also one of the most generous contributors to the Bush/Cheney electoral campaigns.
We continue to protest every day, mornings and afternoons, the same way we have been doing since September 12 as a group of El Paso citizens opposed to the wall. The protests at this site were initiated by one individual on August 18.

On that day Justo Rivera, a 63 year-old El Paso native and proud Vietnam veteran, just made a simple sign with big letters that read, “Honk Honk for No Wall!” Justo staged a one person protest at the construction site. We gather at the entrance of the construction site located at Cesar Ch├ívez Highway (also known as Border Highway) and Yarbrough, with signs and leaflets.

At times there are only three people protesting. Other times our group is composed of ten or more protesters. The number of people is increasing every day. Since this is a heavy traffic intersection, hundreds of people see our signs, as well as the construction in progress. The majority of people express their opposition to the wall by honking to the Kiewit workers and the Border Patrol officers.
This week we also held two activities. The first was held on Wednesday October 1 which was a Vigil Against the Wall to begin our campaign: “¡YA BASTA! ¡TOD@S CONTRA EL MURO!” (ENOUGH! EVERYBODY AGAINST THE WALL!)

The vigil was held in the evening and attracted more than 60 participants mainly from different religious communities as well as families residing in the vicinity of the construction site. The participants of the vigil carried candles and signs denouncing the immorality of the wall. The protesters converged at 6:30 p.m. at the park near the construction site to listen to presentations from a Catholic priest and representatives of other religions.

Then following a group of matachines from St Pius X, the procession walked towards the site of the wall. A group of nervous Border patrol officers were at the entrance of the construction site. When the procession approached the wall, the officers parked their vehicles to block the entrance and rushed outside the entrance to stop the peaceful protesters.

Two of the officers pushed the persons yelling at them,“This is federal property!” But the protesters were not intimidated and continued their march chanting,“No Wall! No Wall!” More Border Patrol officers arrived at the site to form a barrier at the entrance of the site, although it was very clear that the protesters never had the intention to enter the construction site or to even get close to the entrance.

Minutes later some officers from the El Paso Police Department (EPPD) also arrived to assist the Border Patrol agents in protecting the wall. Despite their attempts to intimidate the protesters, the vigil continued until very late into the evening. Many people passed by the intersection and saw the vigil. Most of the drivers were honking their horns in support of the protest against the wall.

Then on Friday, October 3, almost 40 students from UTEP and El Paso Community College arrived to the site to join the protest. They brought signs and musical instruments. Most of the students were from UTEP's Students for Reform. Many people and families from the vicinity arrived to participate. The group grew to about 70. The protest was cheerful, with much enthusiasm and lasted several hours. The group also walked along the construction of the wall.

This time the law enforcement officers and Kiewit Corporation were prepared for our protest.

To begin, they released the workers earlier than on other previous days, so by the time we arrived they had stopped working in the area. Then they closed the main gate with chains and locks and put up two big “No Trespassing” signs on each side of the entrance.

Also, this time the presence of EPPD and Border Patrol officers was very ostentatious. There were cops all over the construction site and in the surrounding areas. Somebody counted about 30 patrols in the area. There were also many plain clothes officers in unmarked vehicles taking pictures and videos of the protest. The officers of the EPPD did not allow people to park on the edge of the road the way we had been doing for many weeks of protests. When one of the protesters attempted to explain to the police that he was parked in a right of way, he was given a ticket and was warned to move or his car would be towed away. Then a deputy with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office also arrived at the area to harass the demonstrator who had been given the ticket. The deputy was so out of control that one of the police officers intervened to calm him down.

Anyway, the protest took place and hundreds of people passing by the area saw us and expressed their support to the struggle to stop the construction of the wall. Every day more and more people are realizing the infamy of the federal government against the people of the border community. We also expect more people to join our daily protests and to participate in the different actions being planned to stop the construction of the wall.

The protests at the construction site will continue during weekdays, mornings, and afternoons. The next action will be held on Sunday October 12, 2008 at the construction site. October 12 is the International Day of the World's Indigenous People therefore, this time we are planning an indigenous ceremony against the wall.

Carlos Marentes
10/05/08

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008: www.earthcycles.net/
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