Charlottesville, VA — This evening UVA students and Charlottesville community members who intended to reclaim the North Plaza of the Rotunda and demand justice for those who have suffered at the hands of white supremacy arrived to a policing apparatus they did not agree to. In response to this situation UVA Students United as issued the following statement:
“Last Year They Came With Torches, This Year They Come with Badges
“We will not be holding the rally within the confines of policing apparatus forced upon us by the University Administration. It is a betrayal of our ideals and our community.
“What you see around you is not what we asked for. We asked the university for the following demands:
Payment or Waiving of Medical Fees for ALL survivors of August 11th and 12th
Denouncement of White Supremacy in the form of issuing Lifelong No Trespass orders to identified White Supremacists present on August 11th
Transparency for the undisclosed profits raised by the Concert for Charlottesville
“Here is how the University retaliated:
To ‘require’ that we choose a select group of community members to join with us at the rally
They suggested we physically mark attendees with wristbands and prohibiting attendance to people without student IDs
They put up barricades surrounding the space, and police around and within the perimeter, armed with riot gear
They designated a space for white supremacist counter-protestors, protecting their violence
The University is housing nearly one thousand State Police in dorms that students pay for
They gave us an ultimatum–to accept their “security plan” or not hold the rally at all.
Last year, armed white supremacists surrounded and attacked students. The police watched from across the street until the torch-bearing mob left. As anti-racist protestors recovered from the attack, the Police barricaded those still inside of the Plaza and issued a dispersal order with the threat of arrest.
“You may think that the cops are here to protect us, but we disagree. We know instead that:
- Cops have a history of violence against anti-racist protestors, as we experienced last year at the KKK rally and saw in the past 10 days in Portland and Berkley.
- The institution of policing was created from the system of slave patrols. Today the function of the police continues to be to over patrol Black communities, target people of color and protect wealth.
- Police are routinely exempt from punishment regardless of biased, excessive force and violence. Furthermore, the Courts, in the service of police control, intentionally punish anti-racist activists.
- Increased police presence only results in increased police violence.
“The City and the University’s desire to control images and protect their brands has created a dangerous police state. They’re not here to protect us, they’re here to control us. We will not comply.”
Photo credit: Ned Oliver, The Virginia Mercury