Partisan Defense Committee Press And Photo Release
20 April 2008
Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013
Contact: Kevin Gilroy (212) 406-4252
April 19 International Protests Say:
Mumia Must be Freed Now!
Upcoming international united-front protests demand Mumia’s immediate freedom: Sydney, Australia, on April 23; Mexico City on April 24; Chicago and Los Angeles on April 26. For more information: www.partisandefense.org.
As part of the international campaign initiated by the Partisan Defense Committee to free death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, united-front protests took place on April 19 in Oakland, Toronto and London under the slogans: “Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent! Free Mumia Now! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!” The same day, a protest initiated by the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal in Philadelphia drew some 600 people, and another called by the Collectif unitaire national “Ensemble, sauvons Mumia” in Paris drew some 200 demonstrators, while 50 people came out for a protest in Mexico City called by Amig@s de Mumia. The protests were called in response to the March 27 U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding Mumia’s frame-up conviction.
The united-front protests have been initiated by the PDC and Labor Black Leagues in the U.S. and the PDC’s fraternal defense organizations internationally and endorsed by over 300 individuals and organizations, including trade unions representing hundreds of thousands of workers. Some 200 protesters mobilized in Oakland. Among those addressing the demonstrators were Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Francisco Torres and Ray Boudreaux of the “San Francisco 8,” former Black Panthers who are now being dragged through the courts on frame-up charges of killing a cop that had been dismissed 30 years ago. A letter to Mumia from political prisoner Leonard Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement, was read to the protest. It stated: “Given the choice of lying down to die or standing up to live, we chose to live. Standing up and living is our only crime.” In Toronto, some 120 protesters came out. Addressing the rally, Kevin Shimmin, National Representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers union said, “The fight to free Mumia from the racist, capitalist clutches of America is our fight. It is the struggle of every worker fighting for dignity; of every immigrant fighting for respect; of every young person fighting against police brutality; of every activist defending their community; of every union fighting for a better society.” Kate Klein, the PDC speaker at the London united-front demonstration, which drew over 100 protesters, underscored: “Since he was a 15-year-old in Philadelphia, Mumia has been in the cross hairs of the Philly cops and the FBI because he was a leader of the Black Panther Party as a youth, an eloquent journalist who fought day in and day out for the oppressed, and a supporter of the MOVE organization.”
Chanting “Mumia is innocent! Free him now! Labor has the power to make the courts bow!” the PDC and LBL-organized Class-Struggle Contingent in the Philadelphia protest drew some 150 people, including trade unionists from NYC’s powerful Transport Workers Union Local 100. The contingent marched under the slogans, “Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent! Free Mumia Now! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty! There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts! Mobilize Labor’s Power—For Mass Protest!” Philly cops acted to protect fascist vermin who came to attack the demonstration. Marshals from the PDC/LBL contingent effectively repulsed a fascist provocation against the protest. As PDC Labor Coordinator Gene Herson underlined, “It is not an accident that the race-terrorist fascists, the deadly enemies of labor, blacks and all the oppressed, have come forward as the stormtroopers for those who seek Mumia’s legal lynching. It affirms that the cause of Mumia is the cause of labor, the cause of black freedom, the cause of all the oppressed.” In Paris, a Class-Struggle Contingent organized by the Committee for Social Defense, the PDC’s fraternal defense organization in France, drew some 60 people, while in Mexico City, members of the Grupo Espartaquista de México, section of the International Communist League, joined the Amig@s de Mumia protest and addressed the demonstrators. On April 12, a Class-Struggle Contingent of some 80 people built by the Committee for Social Defense in Germany marched in a demonstration for Mumia in Berlin of about 300.
PDC counsel Rachel Wolkenstein, who served on Mumia’s legal defense from 1995 to 1999, said, “The fight for Mumia’s freedom is at a critical juncture. The statements in defense of Mumia must be turned into mass action, centered on labor’s power. We call on everyone to redouble their efforts to build the upcoming united-front demonstrations.” United-front protests will take place in Sydney, Australia, on April 23; Mexico City on April 24; Chicago and L.A. on April 26. For more information: www.partisandefense.org.
Photo Caption 1 (MumiaOakland.jpg): Oakland, April 19: Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Ray Boudreaux (at the microphone) and Francisco Torres of the “San Francisco 8” address some 200 demonstrators at united-front protest for Mumia Abu-Jamal initiated by Partisan Defense Committee and Labor Black League. [photo credit: Partisan Defense Committee]
Photo Caption 2 (MumiaLondon.jpg): London, April 19: Stephen Hedley from the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union addresses some 100 demonstrators in front of U.S. Embassy at united-front protest for Mumia Abu-Jamal called by Partisan Defence Committee. [photo credit: Partisan Defence Committee]
Photo Caption 3 (MumiaPhilly.jpg): Philadelphia, April 19: Partisan Defense Committee/Labor Black League Class-Struggle Contingent at demonstration initiated by the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. [photo credit: Partisan Defense Committee]
Photo Caption 4 (MumiaToronto.jpg): Toronto, April 19: Called by Partisan Defense Committee, united-front protest for Mumia Abu-Jamal across street from U.S. Consulate drew a crowd of 120, with several union banners and union speakers. [photo credit: Partisan Defense Committee]
For more information: www.partisandefense.org
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The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people. This purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League.