An insider's report about the Miami situation

Anonyme, Dimanche, Novembre 23, 2003 - 13:46

Olivier Girard -

Publisher's note: this report on the Miami situation was send to me by a friend. The original writer can be reached at . For those who aren't familiar with the Miami protests & FTAA meeting, I suggest an article published in the Miami Herald,a rather conservative source which corroborates parts of the testimony that follows.

feel free to reply to this email with any questions you have, i know some of you don't know me but we're mutual friends of leila and i'm open to answer anything you need to know about her current situation.


in miami, for the weeks leading up to the anti-ftaa demonstrations (which will affect everyone in this hemisphere and are decided only by 34 ministers from 34 different countries) has been mainly focused on fear-tactics, using the description "violent anarchists" to describe the peaceful demonstrators who have converged here from all around the world, and are of all different races, classes, ages, and genders to express their opposition to the proposed agreement.

the AFL-CIO made an agreement with the police before the protests even started, stating that tear gas/pepper spray/concussion grenades/rubber bullets (all things that were used here excessively and uneccessarily) would be last resorts. the police not only used tear gas as a first resort but to divert media attention away from large groups giving way for police brutality and mass arrests.

the majority of those in jail have been arrested for unlawful assembly, which under the new miami city ordinance means that any group larger than 7 people is considered an illegal demonstration and those people present are subject to search and arrest.

john sweeney, the president of the AFL-CIO (america's union movement-- which organized alot of the anti-FTAA workshops and events here in miami and who have shown their support for the protestors) has publicly expressed outrage at the use of excessive and unneccessary police force in miami. the ACLU is also deeply disgusted at the blatant disregard and abuse of civil liberties.

there have been reports of sexual assualt from police officers in the jails, the targeting of people of colour for torture and verbal harassment, transgendered and undocumented workers are also receiving harassment and abuse. we are asking the INS does not get involved, so people will not risk the chance of deportation. some are protesting in the jail, on hunger strike because they are not receiving appropriate food (vegan/vegetarian), and others are refusing to give their legal names to show their jail solidarity for the other political prisoners who do not have adequate funds for bail or have felony charges.

leila is being charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, both charges i know to be completely false since i witnessed the arrest, as did about 3 different legal observers here in miami. her bail is set at $6,000. i have since heard that she has contacted her parents and is in good spirits, they are arranging for her to be released as soon as possible. they are getting a bail bonds which means they only have to pay 10% of the bail ($600) which is still alot of money and any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!! (contact ken or myrna martin: ph.250-352-7224)

i know of one transgendered boy who has recently been released but was targeted for abuse in jail-- when asked which gender he was he tried to explain to the ignorant officers that he has female genitals but identifies as male and they then stripped off all his clothes, smashed his face against a table, spread his legs and continued to mock, humiliate, and torture him, saying things like "where's your dick, little girl?" i have also heard that a young female was forced to perform oral sex on a guard.

from the miami IMC ( "Reports have come to the legal team that a Latino man was brutalized within the prison walls and is now at a hospital. The individual is currently missing. Another man who had sustained injuries to his head during the protests has been neglected and is suffering from a hemorrhage. More from a newswire posting from the Chicago IMC. There are also reports that two transgender people have been sexually abused."

the legal team here is bogged down, with 273 arrested in the last 3 days. so far only 63 have been released. bails range from $100-$20, 000 and so far fund-raising has been really hard within the miami activist community since mostly everyone is poor.

it would be really helpful if you reported this to the international and/or canadian press, that there is a call for international solidarity actions at all U.S. embassies around the world to demand that prisoners receive medical attention if needed (a man with a head injury who demanded medical attention later suffered a brain hemmorage and is currently in the hospital), appropriate food, and that funds are raised to release all high-risk political prisoners of colour, genderqueers, and undocumented workers.

this needs to happen ASAP. it's really scary down here and alot of people are worried about their friends.

please pass this email on to activist listservs and networks around the world as much as possible.

there are 3 places you can send donations which will go to helping bail out political prisoners being held in miami:

student-farmworker alliance

p.o. box 961

lake worth, florida


to donate online to help support the high-risk people of colour in jail go to:

and you can also donate online at:

please remember that no matter what your political views are, human rights are being violated and alot of people are scared and emotionally/physically traumatized. most of the people were unjustly arrested, beaten, and subjected to chemical weapons for doing nothing more than exercising their constitutionally protected right to peacefully assemble.

send your complaints to:

Chief of Police Timoney:

Miami-Dade Mayor:

Mayor Diaz:

more contact info:

Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz 305-250-5300
or by fax by going to

Dossier G20
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Centre des médias Alternatifs Toronto

Media Co-op Toronto

Toronto Community Mobilization
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