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Rising Resistance in the Face of Police Show of Force

Translated Saturday 23 August 2014, by Guy Langloy

The crisis caused by young Michael Brown’s death and the militarization of the repression against anti-racist protesters is raising the debate on segregation today.

The anti-racist outroar is not abating, and the tension remains very high in the town of Ferguson. The death of Michael Brown – an 18 year old African-American shot by a police officer after he was stopped while walking home from shopping – continues to outrage this Saint-Louis suburb and national opinion. Protesters from the neighborhood and from numerous civil right organizations have denounced the crime as racist and demanded that justice be rendered. They vowed to continue the fight until Darren Wilson – a white police officer who emptied his clip on an unarmed man with his raised hands – is prosecuted.

Images reminiscent of the streets of Bagdad

The escalating repressive measures against a citizens’ mobilization has created an explosive climate. But more than triggering some opportunistic looting, it has raised a debate in the national press which sees a parallel – documented with photos – between the repression of the civil rights activists in the 60’s and today’s violence in the same part of the country. The New York Times compared some of the emblematic pictures of the southern confrontation that took place half a century ago between Blacks and police with the quasi military reaction displayed today. Danny Lyon, a photographer and a witness, does not mince words : « This is a military deployment. A soldier’s duty is not to protect, but to kill and be ready to die », he said as he compared pictures taken in Ferguson with those of the streets of Bagdad. And Governor Jay Nixon’s decision – a Democrat – to call the national guard will only enhance this similarity. Attorney Chandra Bhatnagar, affiliated with the ACLU – an association for the defense of civil right – is appalled by the blatant gap between "the rights guaranteed by our Constitution" and "the international, legal anti-discrimination measures ratified by the United States twenty years ago and the persistance of racism that plague our society today".

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