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Houston Activists Talk with Police

By Paul Hill

HOUSTON - On June 21, the Progressive Action Alliance held a public forum with the Houston Police Department in an attempt to prevent violence at demonstrations.

On May 18, about 250 protesters gathered to demonstrate at the annual Halliburton stockholder's meeting held here. The demonstration was marred by police actions against the demonstrators. Seventeen people were arrested and charged with felonies, most of which were "no-billed" by the grand jury, meaning the jury didn't believe there was sufficient evidence to indict.

A film of the Halliburton protest, made by independent Austin filmmaker Baku, showed Houston police officers
mounted on horses repeatedly charging into crowds of protesters.

In the course of the forum, the police admitted they failed to bring bullhorns to the protest, making it difficult for
them to communicate with the crowd. In their own defense they said the protesters did not have an identified leader with whom they could negotiate to manage the demonstration.

Several activists stepped up to the microphone and told stories of how the police reacted suddenly and without
warning. One 63-year-old woman reported that she had been shoved with a police club in the chest while the officer yelled at her to get out of the street. When she told him she was off the street, he looked down and then walked off after shoving her one more time.

The Progressive Action Alliance is a group of Houston activists previously affiliated with the Dennis Kucinich for
President campaign.

phill2@houston.rr.com


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