January 25 Day of Action Round up

Summary: 
Activists in over 50 cities around the world staged protests at federal buildings, FBI offices, and U.S. Embassies to demand an end to the repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists. This page will be updated as more reports come in.

Activists around the world demand: "FBI Hands Off Peace Activists!"

General coverage of actions

Local coverage of actions

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago press coverage:

An Associated Press story was picked up by various local media:

WBEZ (Chicago Public Radio) ran two stories:

Chicago participant's report:

  • Over 350 gathered outside of the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago to protest the grand jury. We started with a press conference inside the Dirksen Federal Building, which is where the grand jury is located. There is a press area on the ground floor, just past security. We used it on Dec. 23rd for the press conference after Maureen Murphy and four others were subpoenaed. Yesterday, we were thrown out of the building under some threat by U.S. Marshalls who came up with a rule that only "people who work for the government" can use that press area; or maybe if we had been indicted then our lawyers could speak there, but we couldn't have anyone else with us. Anyone who watched the Fitzgerald/Blagojevich circus last summer knows this is where the disgraced former governor and his lawyers held his daily press conferences. While our schedule was thrown off, it didn't stop the picket line outside from starting up. A favorite chant: "No grand jury, no witch hunt." For almost two hours in the cold, an enthusiastic crowd chanted and marched, gathered for speeches and then picketed some more. Busses from the Mosque Foundation and the Pedro Albizu Campos High School rolled up and unloaded groups of young people. The youth from the Humboldt Park neighborhood chanted for the Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera, "The FBI's a monster, they won't let Oscar prosper."

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Albany, New York

  • Photos of protest
  • Participant report: We had a good rally today in Albany at the regional FBI headquarters. We combined the issues of the attacks on Muslims and the raids and subpoenas of antiwar and solidarity activists and presented the new FBI regional director with a letter signed by about 15 local organizations. There were about 35 people in the bitter cold including an Albany city council member and an Albany county legislator.

Arlington, Texas

  • A group called the Arlington Socialists, located in Arlington, TX, held a solidarity action near the local Police Department Headquarters. Attendance at this event was about 10 people.

Atlanta, Georgia

Asheville, North Carolina

  • Blue Banner: Asheville community protests FBI raids
  • 35 protesters gathered in front of the Asheville Federal Building here, Jan. 25, chanting, "Stop the witch hunts, stop the raids - we are here we are not afraid!" Coverage here. (Fight Back! News).
  • Photographer Jeremy Proffitt has photos from the Asheville protest on his blog.

Boston, Massachusets

  • Participant's report: Boston represented strong today, holding two demonstrations so that diverse communities with different schedules could voice their opposition to the FBI's surveillance, infiltration and repression of peaceful, political movements in the United States and to stand in solidarity with the activists in Chicago and Milwaukee who have been targeted by the government. About 40 people gathered in front of the JFK building at noon, distributing 500 fliers to passersby. There was a man there who activists suspected was an undercover agent, likely FBI himself. He was filming the activists up close, capturing their faces, and asking provocative questions, likely in an effort to get activists to say something extreme. Most people ignored him. At 5 PM, another group of similar size gathered at Park street station to voice opposition to the FBI's dirty attacks on organizers. We stood up for our First Amendment rights to political speech and assembly. Activists at the 5PM demonstration handed out another 400 fliers to busy rush-hour commuters, many of whom applauded our demo. We'll have photos posted tomorrow, including of the man we suspect to be a government agent.

Cleveland, Ohio

  • Photo from protest
  • Participant report: In Cleveland 1/25/2011 we picketed and chanted with a bullhorn in front of the Federal Building from 4:30pm to 5pm.    We had 11 attendees, which we thought was something, considering the short amount of time we had to work with.  I am a supporter of Workers World Party, and the local branch sent out the mailing and the press release for the event once we discovered no other local activists were planning on doing anything.  The 1234 chant was the most popular, and every attendee was also given the opportunity to make a statement with the bullhorn.  Some activists were a little down because of the small turn-out, but we knew we were among thousands across the country.  There was 1 Homeland Security SUV and one Cleveland Police Dept. patrol car, but they stayed in their vehicles and nothing happened.  No media at all, not even a stringer!

Dallas, Texas

  • Participant's report: The El Centro College peace activists, as well as other peace activists and organizations in Dallas, stood in solidarity with 50 cities across the nation in demanding an end to a Federal Grand Jury. The FBI raids and subpoenas have attempted to repress political dissent and criminalizing the anti war peace movement. The demonstration was held at the Earl Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas starting around 5pm, and ending around 8pm. Turnout was restricted due to the cold weather (we do live in Texas), but also do to excessive intimidation tactics employed by the FBI and Dallas Police Department. We were welcome by two Federal Protective Police SUV's, members of the Dallas Criminal Investigative Division, and random US Marshals. Further efforts must be made to increase awareness of this issue in the public generally, as the mainstream media is seemingly not interested.

Denton, Texas

  • University of North Texas peace activists, as well as other student organizations held a solidarity demonstration in the downtown area of Denton, TX as well. UNTis far removed from Dallas, but in instances such as this, there is typically cooperation. Turnout in Denton was around 20-40 people.

Detroit, Michigan

  • Photos of protest
  • Participant's report: In sub freezing temperatures, over 25 supporters of those raided by the FBI rallied at the Federal Building in Detroit January 25. A strong, diverse picket line with members of labor unions, youth groups, anti-war and other progressive organizations chanted, "Solidarity is not a crime: From Iraq to Palestine," "Defend Free Speech," "FBI off our backs: enough attacks" and other slogans. After the picket a brief speak-out took place where announcements of solidarity were made including mentions of a support statements for those attacked by the FBI issued January 25 by a youth/student organizations at two universities in Arizona and a letter from people's lawyer Lynne Stewart who is serving 10 years in federal prison after being framed up by the government for her steadfast defense of politically targeted defendants. Debbie Johnson of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), sponsors of the rally, denounced the FBI raids and demanded all of the grand jury proceedings halt immediately; that those targeted receive justice and have returned to them all of the items that were stolen by the FBI; and that all government attacks against progressive and revolutionary activists cease. The activists also distributed a flier with information for upcoming national conferences to stop the FBI attacks and encouraged those attending the demonstration to travel to Chicago February 12 for the conference there. MECAWI is organizing a delegation for the Chicago conference. For more information: www.stopfbi.net or www.mecawi.org.

Duluth, Minnesota

  • Northland Anti-War Coalition: NAWC Attempts People's Subpoena of FBI
  • Participant's report: A dozen people gathered on the steps of the Federal Building in Duluth, MN at 4 PM on January 25, in solidarity with those targeted by FBI subpoenas. Two local TV news cameras and a reporter from the Labor World newspaper were present. After brief remarks by organizers, those in attendance were invited to enter the Federal Building and help deliver three citizen's subpoenas to the FBI Office on the third floor. The subpoenas named Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago FBI Office, Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis FBI Office, and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitgerald, commanding them to immediately bring forth to a public location accessible to to citizens and the media: "All documents in your possession which evidence violations of citizens’ First Amendment rights to Freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly and Association, particularly pertaining to the issuance of Grand Jury subpoenas against 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists and the September 24, 2010 raids of activists’ homes in Minneapolis, MN and Chicago, IL. You are hereby ordered to drop the aforementioned subpoenas, return all objects confiscated during the raids and cease all further investigation of nonviolent political activists." All nine activists who attempted the delivery were granted entry to the Federal Building. The office was closed, and the subpoenas were left taped to the door." The event was organized by the Northland Anti-War Coalition.

Houston, Texas

Kalamazoo, Michigan

  • Fight Back!: Kalamazoo protests Grand Jury witch hunt
  • Photos of protest
  • Participant report: A dozen people, including one city council person, rallied outside the federal building with the newly formed Kalamazoo Coalition Against Repression this evening. Subpoenaed activist Tom Burke then traveled to the campus of Western Michigan University and spoke at the beginning of an event sponsored by the Kalamazoo Peace Center.

Kiev, Ukraine

35 protesters gathered at the U.S. Embassy here, Jan. 25, to oppose the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists in the United States. Coverage here. (Fight Back! News).

Los Angeles, California

  • Press TV (Iran) Footage and interviews here.
  • Fight Back! News: LA: People’s Tribunal condemns FBI, grand jury repression
  • Photo from protest
  • Report from Charla of L.A. Committee to Stop FBI Repression: "In the case of The People vs The FBI, I now call this court into session" boomed Eric Gardner a member of ucla sds, "We are here today because FBI is trying to intimidate people into silence and stifle descent. The FBI stands accused of the crimes of intimidation, harassment, spying, political persecution, false arrests, breaking and entering, and assassinations." Thus opened Los Angele's 'People's Tribunal' where over 80 people gathered outside of the FBI headquarters to demand an end to the Grand Jury and FBI repression. Over a dozen activists came forward to testify, from immigrant rights, labor unionist, anti-war organizers, and Palestine Solidarity groups. An unanimous vote found the FBI guilty, not just for its most recent attacks but for its history of years of oppression. The Tribunal ended with an angry but empowered voice, "The anti-war movement is under attack! What do we do? Stand up Fight Back!"

Louisville, Kentucky

  • Photos of protest
  • Participant report: We had 40 people show up before it ended ... It was a great start to building the effort. ACLU, AIM, KITLAC, the Jewish Coalition for Peace, Anti-war Committee and the Louisville Coalition for Peace in the Middle East all supported.

Memphis, Tennessee

Activists gathered at the Memphis Peace and Justice Center to mark the day of action, were met by FBI agents and members of the Memphis SWAT Team. A full account of the day is available here.

New York, New York

  • Photos of New York protest by Diane Greene Lent
  • Workers World: Grand Jury repression protested in 45 cities (photo from New York protest)
  • Participant's report: In NYC 100 people rallied in front of the FBI offices at 26 Federal Plaza. We chanted: "Stop the subpoenas, Stop the raids! We are here and not afraid!" We heard from a broad range of NYC activist groups who are standing united with the activists who have refused to cooperate in the Grand Jury proceedings. Groups who spoke: Coney Island Avenue Project, The Friends and Family of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Veterans for Peace - NY, Brooklyn for Peace, Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Free Mumia Coalition, International Action Center, World Can't Wait, War Resisters League, International Socialist Organization, Workers World Party, May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights, League for the Revolutionary Party, the Marxist Humanist Initiative, Port Militarization Resistance (WA), Al Awda-NY, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Resistance in Brooklyn, and Ralph Pointer shared comments from Lynn Stewart, and members of the National Lawyer's Guild - NYC Chapter were there as legal observers. At the end of the rally we marched down to the offices of the US Attorney to let them know that we stand in solidarity with these activists and others facing government repression. We let the Justice Department know about the brave unified stand taken by the 9 activists subpoenaed to appear that day: "1,2,3,4, we don't want your bloody war! 5, 6, 7, 8, THEY DID NOT COOPERATE!"

Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Participant's report: The rally started at 9AM outside of the Federal Building in Raleigh, NC with about 25 activists gathered holding signs like 'Peace is not a Crime,' 'Federal Bureau of Intimidation,' and 'Hands Off Activists.' Peter Gilbert from the Triangle Committee to Stop FBI Repression acted as MC. Joan Walsh of Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee read a statement addressed to Senator Kay Hagan, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Patrick Fitzgerald and others explaining our position and listing our demands. Khalilah Sabra of MAS (Muslim-American Society) Freedom read a beautiful piece written by a ninth grader on the injustices of repression. Steve Edelstein of the National Lawyers Guild spoke about the laws that underly the FBIs repressive actions, the danger they pose and the need to change them. Finally, Eva Panjwani of FIST (Fighting Imperialism Stand Together) read a statement from Lynne Stewart, a former attorney and American political prisoner, expressing solidarity with those resisting this latest round of federal assaults on freedom and liberty. A small group of four activists went inside the building to Senator Hagan's office to present her aides (the Senator was not present) with our statement and our individual concerns. They told us that she was aware of the issue but had not made any public statements about it. We were promised a response 'in about a week.'

Rochester, New York

  • Photos from protest
  • Participant's report: Had a noon picket in front of the Rochester, NY Federal Building. Nice turnout for short notice of local action.

Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Participant report: It was a cold and evening when around ten anti-war activists protested the FBI raids outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building. The activist had braved the snow to stand with those anti-war and international solidarity activists who have been targeted by the FBI. The protesters handed out flyers with information on the FBI repression to people passing by on the street. They also chanted slogans such as “troops out now” and “Stop the subpoenas stop the raids, we are here and not afraid.” The hour long protest ended with an issuing of a statement both expressing solidarity and demanding that the FBI stop the repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists, a return of all materials confiscated, and an end to the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Seattle, Washington

Tuscon, Arizona

  • Participant's report: We had around a small demonstration of 14 people in front of the Tucson Federal Building from 4:30 to 5:30pm, representing local anti-war, immigrant rights, and international solidarity groups. Responses of pedestrians and rush hour traffic was all positive. We distributed the statement by Lynne Stewart for the 1/25 protests, as well as a general statement about the FBI witch hunt. We had also distributed several hundred copies of the general statement a few days ago at the local Martin Luther King Day activities.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

  • Participant's report: Here in Tuscaloosa, AL, the SDS chapter at the University of Alabama collected petition signatures on campus and talked to students, many of them activists in other organizations, about the way the FBI is attacking progressive movements. That evening, we had a small picket outside of the local Federal Building. We hope we won't have to continue protesting this injustice, but if we do, we hope the weather is a little bit nicer next time and the new friends we made while collecting signatures will join us.