Fil-Ams Condemn Police Brutality on “CUNY 6”, Demand NYPD to Drop Charges

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New York, NY – Filipino youth and students from Anakbayan New York condemn the brutal dispersal and arrest of six students, now known as the “CUNY 6”, last Wednesday night.

On September 17, students, faculty, workers, other members of City University of New York (CUNY) and community organizations, led and organized by the Ad-Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY, mobilized outside of the Macaulay Honors College. They peacefully protested war criminal David Petraeus and the return of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) on CUNY campuses.

David Petraeus was the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the co-author of the U.S. Counterinsurgency Field Manual. The Philippine government has studied this manual and has used it as a model for its own counterinsurgency programs: Operation Plan Bantay Laya and Operation Plan Bayanihan.

“Both operation plans have been responsible for the arrests, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings of activists and community leaders, including youth and students, in the movement for genuine national democracy and freedom of the Philippines and its people,” said Matthew Cheirs II of Anakbayan NY.

According to Anakbayan NY members who were present, the protest last Wednesday started around 5:00 in the evening as Petraeus was entering the building for a Macaulay fundraiser event. During the peaceful moving picket outside of the honors college, New York Police Department (NYPD) officers provoked and violently attacked the crowd of activists.

“Students were thrown against walls, vehicles, and to the ground.  They were also brutally punched by police officers. These actions committed by the police were followed by the violent arrest of 6 student activists,” said Christine Fabro of Anakbayan NY who attended the CUNY demonstration.

Fabro also said that witnessing all of this reminded her of the protests in the Philippines that she witnessed this past summer.

“During a counter demonstration to President Benigno Aquino’s State of the Nation Address in the Philippines last July, activists were being beaten by the police while peacefully negotiating the opening of the barricades so we can continue our march and program,” Fabro said further.

Several activists were severely beaten and injured, including a 77-year old veteran of the student protests against the Marcos dictatorship in 1970. Activists including youth and students were arrested after being beaten by the police.

Also just recently, 11 peasant leaders and advocates including a nun who were on a fact-finding mission to Hacienda Luisita, of which the family of President Aquino are landlords, were also arrested.

“It is appalling that the people who stand for justice in our communities are viewed as criminals,” Fabro said, “while the real criminals like Petraeus can walk freely and even teach in our schools.”

Police brutality is just one of the many attacks on the youth by the state that seeks to suppress the movement that challenges the interests of the very few people who benefit from the abuse and exploitation of oppressed peoples.

“The militarization of CUNY campuses by the presence of ROTC is yet another attack on the youth. About 40 years after its elimination from CUNY due to student protests, ROTC is back in CUNY. ROTC acts as a factory that creates instruments of war out of the youth.  It teaches them to fight their brothers and sisters who are struggling against injustices and for genuine social changes,” said Cheirs.

The CUNY 6 made their first appearance before court and were released on the evening of September 18, but criminal charges against them remain.  They will return to court on October 17.

Anakbayan New York stands in solidarity with the CUNY 6 and defends their right to protest against injustice in their schools and communities. We call on all youth and students to attend and support the CUNY 6 in their second appearance before court on October 17.

Drop the criminal charges on the CUNY 6!
Oppose state repression and violent arrests of peaceful demonstrators!
Petraeus and ROTC, stop targeting CUNY youth and students!
No to militarization of our schools and communities!