Today Hamilton had it’s first corona-era demo and it was a big success. Taking cues from other cities, and building on the prisoner solidarity work we’ve been doing during the pandemic, we called for a car demo outside of the jail this afternoon. Dozens of cars lined both sides of the jail for an hour, with horns honking and signs waving, while prisoners banged back on the windows. The action was specifically in solidarity with prisoners targeted with violence and reprisals over the weekend for standing up for themselves, to let them know that when they demand safety and dignity they won’t stand alone. The range where guards pepper sprayed inmates Friday for refusing lockdown still seems to be locked down.
Our phone line has been ringing steadily all afternoon, with prisoners sharing gratitude for the display of solidarity.
This tactic has been used in lots of different places and it was quite a bit of fun. The cars created distance between participants and were great for making noise and taking up space, and people could also get out to hold signs and wave. Those without access to cars came on foot and spaced themselves out.
While we are told to stay home to avoid the virus, those inside the Barton Jail are left without basic necessities like soap, hand sanitizer, or physical space. We have seen first hand in other prisons the disastrous effects of this pandemic, as the disease spreads quickly. And here like in Italy’s prisons, the state too often answer requests for basics with violence.
Thanks to everyone who showed up, and also to everyone who has been following and sharing the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project’s updates. Being able to respond quickly to incidents like this can make a real difference, and so we need to always be finding ways to thin the walls and make the voices of prisoners present. We will keep posting more updates as we get more information.
Free all Barton prisoners now!
Previous statement on violence against prisoners: (https://www.facebook.com/events/919330178524916/)
Car demos at prisons elsewhere: (https://itsgoingdown.org/chicago-il-cook-county-jail-noise…/) (https://itsgoingdown.org/car-demos-surround-the-jail-and-g…/)
On the prisoner uprisings in Italy: https://borderedbysilence.noblogs.org/…/italy-to-the-rebel…/