ricardo dominguez on Tue, 26 Jun 2001 19:55:25 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Biotech Industry Hiding Behind Police Lines

Biotech Industry Hiding Behind Police Lines
San Diego Biojustice Organizers to Respond Police Repression
Contact Biojustice Media
tel: (619)237-5454
June 26th, 2001

San Diego, CA ~  Designated police liaisons; from Biojustice will be
featured speakers in a press conference this morning held to frame all of
the Biojustice events and  to respond to police and industry excessive

Although events challenging the biotech industry in San Diego have been
entirely peaceful, police have been escalating intimidation tactics against
individuals presumed to be associated with the Biojustice teach-ins and
demonstrations. Tactics such as harassment, profiling, following people,
detaining people for jay walking, and documented undercover infiltration has
sent a heavy-handed  message to the public: questioning the biotech industry
yields reprimand.

“This past week the biotech industry, with the police force, has
squelched democratic avenues for dialogue. BIO repeatedly turned down the
offer of a debate and continues to cower behind closed doors, police line
and its $250 million PR machine,” said Adam Hurter of Biojustice.

This past weekend featured two teach-ins, which drew hundreds of people to
see prominent scholars in the umbrella field of biojustice. Additionally, a
march on Sunday saw approximately 1,500 people criticizing the biotech
industry for its profit-driven agenda.

Event organizers consider the weekend a resounding success, as they managed
to get out critical information about biotechnology, cutting through the fog
of the industry’s $50 million-a-year public relations campaign. Still,
some disappointment was expressed in the fact that the police and the
industry in cohorts diverted attention from the important public issues with
a laughable hype surrounding law enforcement scare tactics.

“I hope other San Diego residents are as disgusted as I am that, while
thousands of people in this city lack health care, the police blew $2.5
million to create a lot of hype that has stifled legitimate dialogue”
said San Diego resident Steph Sherer.
IMC-Los Angeles
Peacefully Protesting BIO? Expect Harassment
by Cayce Callaway 9:12pm Mon Jun 25 '01
e-mail: cayce9@hotmail.com
With the teach-in placid, the march pacific and no one wreaking any havoc,
the San Diego Police Department have resorted to petty persecution.
Tei, Gumby and Deva have been followed all weekend. When they pulled up at a
stoplight and looked out their windows, they saw the San Diego Police. When
they came out of Von's with bags of supplies, they were interrogated. When
they grabbed a lift in a friend's truck, they were pulled over. Their crime?
They volunteered as medics for the week of events around Beyond
Biodevastation, a teach-in and protest against BIO, the biotech industry
event being held this week in San Diego.

Ken and Mike, a couple of musicians from San Diego, were surrounded by three
cop cars as they walked down the sidewalk with their drums. They were told
they were being detained on reasonable suspicion: their instruments looked
like weapons. They agreed to give their ID, but took the ID of the officers
in return. Forced to wait on the sidewalk for almost 20 minutes, they
decided to play. Under the watchful eye of four of San Diego's finest, they
drummed their hearts out. When the cops could no longer take it, they were

Anthony, a volunteer with Food Not Bombs was carrying water and fruit to
protesters at an action outside of Burger King. He was stopped, the police
accusing him of providing ammunition for demonstrators to throw. When he
explained he was simply trying to feed the protesters and make sure they
were drinking plenty of water in the hot sun they let him go. But he was
told if anyone threw anything, he would be arrested.

These activists are part of a relentless campaign of harassment against
protestors in San Diego during this week's events. With the teach-in placid,
the march pacific and no one wreaking any havoc, the San Diego Police
Department have resorted to petty persecution. Protestors have been pulled
over and cited for everything from bald tires to not changing the address on
a license. On Sunday alone 25 citations were given, mostly for jaywalking.
Sign carriers have had their sticks measured, resulting in at least one
arrest for "possession of lumber." Virtually every demonstrator has a story.

Siu Hin, an activist from Los Angeles was detained in the parking garage of
a local mall, where his car was parked. He was approached by a plainclothes
officer who had cited him and 20 other protestors the day before for
jaywalking. His interrogation included allegations that he was loitering in
the parking lot in order to commit rape, steal a car or solicit a homosexual
advance. In reality, he was in the parking lot to keep his car from being
towed, another tactic being used by the police.

The most menacing case of harassment involves Rampage and his friends,
activists from Los Angeles. One of the protestors arrested in Long Beach on
May Day, Rampage has six charges pending against him, including inciting a
riot and disturbing the peace. He and his friends were followed continuously
after they arrived in San Diego. At one point they were cornered by an
unmarked and unidentified car who had been tailing them for hours. When they
confronted the drivers of the car they were told, "Get the fuck out of San
Diego." They were watched until they left.

In addition to these incidents, officers rifled through the supplies in the
medics' tent on several occasions; a plane hired to pull a banner reading,
"Biotech out of our bodies" was prevented from flying over the convention
center by police helicopters, even though clearance had been given by
Lindberg Field; and a natural science student was pulled from the
registration line by police and prevented from registering for a public
discussion on safety and regulations at the BIO conference.

Unfortunately, as the week progresses, so do the incidents of harassment.
With two days left to go, there will certainly be more. Clearly, the first
amendment carries an addendum in San Diego: exercise it at your own risk.

Nettime-bold mailing list