‘Systematic militarization taking place in Ferguson’
RT:What was the atmosphere right after the accident? What was the first people`s and police action?
Andrey Damon: I was on a scene in about an hour after the second shooting took place and the scene was one of real outrage and anguish. Residents saw this as a continuation of a wave of police violence that had been ongoing since the shooting of Mike Brown, involving the militarization of the police, the calling in of the National Guard, the imposition of a state of emergency. It was just the latest event in the string of the police violence.
RT:What about on the side of the police? Is there any sign of further militarization?
AD: From the standpoint of what I saw over the course of the period in which I was in Ferguson I saw a systematic escalation of the police presence and the military presence. First there was the imposition of the curfew and the announcement of the state of emergency, then the calling in of the National Guard. When I was there the first day that the National Guard was called in at the staging center there were in the ones and twos. The next day there were a dozen humvees and soldiers walking around in large numbers. You really get a sense if there is a systematic militarization that is taking place in the city.
RT:In your opinion, what is the real aim of the militarization?
AD: The basic aim of the militarization that is taking place, and the crackdown that is taking place, is not as it is presented to prevent looting or any sort of crime, but to prevent the population the people of the city, from using their constitutional right to assemble. If you go to downtown Ferguson right now you are not allowed to stand still. In broad daylight, on one of the days I was there, a photographer from Getty Images was arrested because he was taking a picture of a group of people who stopped to hold signs. And the police told them to disperse even though the police were blocking traffic completely. They said that the people on the streets had to keep moving because they were blocking traffic. This has very little to do with stopping any sort of looting and has everything to do with the attempt to destroying and dismantle the democratic rights of the American people.
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