occupyice

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Originally Posted on August 6, 2018

As the street sweepers cleared and the sun peaked out from the horizon line the morning of July 27, an intrepid crew of Occupants, numbering 15, rose from their tents and went to work shutting down the Detroit ICE Field office. Eschewing most physical barricades that enveloped the gates in June, this team did most of the work with just their bodies.

Prior to the blockade, two groups of two Occupants each faced a frightening encounter. At 1:30 AM, a black Ford F-250 SuperDuty pickup barreled through the Larned/Mt. Elliott intersection on a bee-line for protesters biking away. It swerved at the last moment, snaked up Mt. Elliott to restablize, then ran a red light on a right turn from the middle lane on Lafayette. This exact pattern was later repeated at 3:30 AM towards two protesters on foot.

A little after 5 AM, several vehicles tried to enter the facility through the Jefferson gate. A line of people formed in front, shouts of "Shame!" drowning out their cries of frustration, already muted by their car windows. The cars were turned away, but pulled into an adjacent parking lot to stew over a thwarted attempt to continue the work of genocide. Two of the cars bounced between the Jefferson and Mt. Elliott gates, probing for an opening. They found none.

Portion of the Deadline Day encampment, 7/26. 

Not long after 7 AM, a DHS agent arrived in response to employee calls about not being able to come to work. Occupy ICE Detroit began picketing in front of the gates in a roving circle formation. The DHS Agent, who shall henceforth be referred to as Agent (Donald) Glover, began repeatedly shouting "This is America!" in response to the protest, and later "you got me trippin' on some bike locks at 7 in the morning" in reference to the reason why none of the gates could open. The authorities' plea to not block vehicles from entering the facility was summarily ignored. After a half hour of huffing and puffing with channel locks and sledgehammer, the bike lock was removed from Mt. Elliott gate, but the blockade remain intact. Meanwhile, disgruntled ICE employees looked on from their perch in the Walgreen's parking lot, kitty-corner to the facility. 

Agent Glover pulled around to go to work on the Jefferson gate bike lock. A chorus of "Shame" erupted as he emerged, but he clapped back with "Shame don't work no more". 

To prove his point, a woman unaffiliated with Occupy ICE pulled into the parking lot adjacent Jefferson gate. She opened the door to her car, clearly distraught, with tears streaming down her face. "I just spent 20 minutes looking for a police officer, please help me, someone broke into my house!" she pleaded, but her bid for assistance was ignored by Agent Glover. Several Occupants went over to console her and direct her to an entity that actually helps people.

After the bike lock was removed, DHS was largely uninterested in testing Jefferson gate, instead focusing their efforts on bullying those blockading Mt. Elliott's. In this video you can see threats and intimidation from DHS, who now have five SUVs on the scene, such as the psychological warfare tactics of flashing emergency lights and sirens to disorient the protesters. This tactic is also not allowed in numerous law enforcement agencies, since its using emergency equipment for non-emergency reasons. Repeated threats of arrest were issued, as the morning crept on through 9 AM. One DHS agent took to the time to lay flex cuff zipties one by one on the pavement for each protester. 

People who should be chained, according to DHS. From the 7/26 Deadline Day Rally. 

An ICE employee tried to enter the facility, despite most of their coworkers skulking at Walgreens. A DHS agent told them "you were told not to come in, please go home and wait for a call." So Occupy ICE Detroit officially canceled the early bird shift. Later, a Fedex employee arrived on scene, stated "Trying to deliver a package, but ain't no one in there! Oops, not supposed to say that," and promptly left.

However, the most damning incident occurred at the hands of a Centerra security employee, hired by DHS. This video shows the driver backing up a foot from where the protester is standing, then stepping on the gas to hit her. Fortunately, no severe injuries were sustained in the vehicular assault. 

While the blockade stretched into the 10 AM hour, and ICE's vultures dispersed from the Walgreens, important work was carried out by the Outreach team, as a crowd of ten+ families waited outside for an ICE check-in to see whether they would be deported. Occupants walked through the involuntary gathering, offering water, snacks, and chalk for the kids, while asking how they felt about the protests and whether it helped. Almost universally there was appreciation, with one exception. One man needed to drive from Grand Rapids for his check-in, an expensive journey, and didn't want to have to repeat it due to a shutdown. ICE is forcing people to drive across the entire state of Michigan just for the privilege of finding out whether or not they would be exiled. Occupy ICE Detroit will be launching an additional fundraiser to provide relief for immigrant communities directly in the near future, especially as it relates to the deportation process.

By 11 AM, the Mt. Elliott blockade was completely surrounded, with DHS agents outnumbering protesters. A final warning was issued and the blockade ended, but not before canceling the entire first shift and observing a deportation free day while protesters were on site. Occupants were given only a half hour to strike camp or face arrest/personal property destruction.

No arrests were made, and Occupy ICE Detroit stayed out front for the remainder of the day, to much jubilation from onlookers driving by on Jefferson.

Several days later, a black Ford F-250 SuperDuty was seen exiting the ICE facility.

  #abolishice 

Added a post  to  , occupyice

Originally Posted on June 28, 2018

The day began at 4 AM, for those not pulling the night shift. Cries of scorn and disgust emanated from tents as bucket drums were beat for a wake-up call. Two days of planning were finally coming to fruition, the blockade of Detroit's ICE Field Office begins. Intel stated ICE agents can enter the office as early as 5 AM to resume their genocidal campaign.

Protesters quickly went to work executing their blockade strategy, a hodgepodge of ideas collectively hashed out that created a surprising amount of cohesion and mitigated having such limited personnel. Only 40 could make it at such an early hour. Several suspected ICE agents attempted to pull in, but were met with an impenetrable wall of anti-bigotry chants and hardy activists. In frustration, they shook their head, gave the resistance the finger and turned around, unable to fulfill their requirements for the torture of immigrant families.

With three gates to guard, Occupy ICE Detroit was spread thin, but a mixture of guile, courage and communication allowed the blockade to continue for six hours.

The tale of Occupy ICE Detroit's standoff is a tale of two camps, holding the line along Mt. Elliott St's gates and another on Jefferson. At first, three DPD squad cars rushed the Northern gate at Mt. Elliot, prompting an influx of reinforcements. DPD officers exited their vehicles and stood agape at the collection of activists blocking off not just the gates to the ICE Field Office, but the Southern end of Mt. Elliott itself. At this point, it was determined blockading the building marked "Immigration Photos" was essential, as immigrants who attend their ICE check-in appointments live under the constant specter of deportation, fearing each appointment could be their last on American soil. Since no ICE Agents could enter their office, the appointments had been summarily canceled. One family with an appointment would have their mother taken from them, should the meeting be allowed to take place. A family stayed united today, because Occupy ICE Detroit refuses to accept genocide. The looks of relief on the faces of others indicates she was not alone.

A Chippewa County Sheriffs car strolled down Mt. Elliott, with an undocumented person in the back seat. After a few confused moments of deliberation while in park, the Sheriffs car turned around in the face of the picket and drove off.

A further rush of police personnel pushed the Mt. Elliott team off the street itself, punctuated by a ginger police Captain verbally taunting protesters while filming them with a gold-rimmed camcorder, but left the gate blockade and the immigration appointments remained canceled. Eventually, the pool of officers challenging Mt. Elliott was reduced to four, who showed little interest in the protest, beyond telling a protester her music was too loud to have that many expletives in it.

Meanwhile, Jefferson camp started off pleasantly, the blockade and banners were met with a chorus of appreciative honks from drivers passing by. However, trouble was brewing in the parking lot of an adjacent strip mall, where six DHS SUVs lay in wait, plotting the demise of the resistance. Shortly thereafter, Jefferson camp was beseiged by 9 squad cars, largely the property of DPD. Fifteen officers exited their vehicles and stared down the wall of humanity preventing the continuation of a pogrom.

A higher ranking officer declared the gate as private property, and protesters must disperse. They were given a warning, the first of three. They held the line, they refused to back down. The standoff continued as hours ticked bye, another warning given, and another warning ignored. Eventually, DHS and DPD forces surrounded the Jefferson camp, equaling the number of protesters. They threatened using tear gas canisters, and swept the encampment with dogs. The ginger Captain returned with full petulance, gleefully waving a fistful of twist ties as a threat against those who won't comply. The third warning was issued, six hours after the blockade began, but an outnumbered resistance were left with little viable choice but to comply. Their first ever mission took six hours away from ICE to inflict chilling horrors on immigrant families, and the excessive Belle Isle Fireworks traffic took care of the rest, suspending most to all of ICE's activities for the day.

Despite assurances from officers that a picket protest was still legal, as long as vehicles aren't blockaded, the ginger Captain demanded Occupy ICE Detroit strike its camp. Failure to comply would result in the entire encampment being tossed into city dump trucks.

In their first attempt at shutting down an ICE facility, this movement provably kept families together and thwarted ICE's daily plan. Camp was re-established Tuesday evening, 6/26.

So far, members of three families present for check-in appointments have reached out to protesters saying their parent was due to be kidnapped and exiled that day. They were granted a stay of two weeks for a new appointment, but that's still two more weeks with a unified family.

Jefferson camp blockade, in loving memory. 

  #solidarityanddefense #RefuseFascism 

Added a post  to  , occupyice

Originally Posted on July 5, 2018

6/27 - Not long after sunrise, a DPD squad car approached the Occupy ICE Detroit encampment. A lone officer, flanked by two employees of Centerra Security, demanded we remove displays attached to the ICE Field Office fence. When asked whether the issue was just the signs, or the tent city itself, the officer stated he believed the tents were fine. After 30 minutes speaking to his superior, he confirmed the sole issue was the signs.

The five occupants present, groggy and disoriented, slowly complied. The fifteen foot "" banner was the last to go, folded like an American flag while the occupants belted out a heavily butchered version of Taps.

The next few hours were rainy, and punctuated by a fascist bearing an actual American flag, a sign reading "God Bless Our Law Enforcement", a CPL and a gun. After calling one of the women protesting ICE a "skank", DHS officers arrived on the scene. Despite a long deliberation with the fascist, DHS returned to state that both parties had a right to protest, and the armed white supremacist was viewed no differently than non-violent protesters attempting to prevent genocide.

Eventually, the fascist left the encampment to spend the next hour licking the boots of a DHS SUV observing the occupation. 

Not long after, Detroit Animal Control arrived on the scene to force Erick's service goat, Deer, off the premises. After a lengthy, and thoroughly bizarre deliberation that featured phrases such as "live goats are not allowed in the City of Detroit" and protesters firing back "No goat is illegal!", Erick was forced to leave the encampment.

At 11:42 AM, a DHS SUV crept up to the protest site, and the agent stated he had received orders to strike the camp. Occupy ICE Detroit had until 1 PM to remove all personal property from the premises, lest it be stolen and thrown away by DHS. No reason for this action was given, beyond it was a command from a superior. As a torrential downpour began, the resistance hurried to preserve items of value before the encampment was destroyed. Multiple vans and a car were packed to capacity, but several tents and signs remained, their owners busy with employment or education.

These concerns fell on deaf ears as the waterlogged Occupants shouted "Shame!" while DHS agents scrapped the tents. The agents openly stated reluctance to follow this order, it had little effect on the execution.

Meanwhile, Occupy ICE Detroit is still continuing its picket, and would later learn the reason for the destruction. Large numbers of warrants were served that day, and the Monroe detention facility got fuller.


#immigration #dhs #ice #cbp #racism

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