March 21, 2009

  What started off as a peaceful demonstration on March 21st, 2009 ended
in severe police brutality and arrests of innocent young Arab Americans in
the streets of San Francisco. Young Arab Americans turned out in record
numbers this year compared to the last 6 years of demonstrations against
the war on Iraq. They marched along with the International League of
Peopleís  Struggles Contingent at the end of the demonstration and
filled in the civic center. When an 8 year old Arab boy was grabbed by San
Francisco police for allegedly carrying rocks in his backpack, young
members of the Arab community intervened by first attempting to speak with
police and retrieve the boy. After the police expressed an immense
distaste for negotiating or discussing anything with the Arab American
teenagers, a young Palestinian woman wrapped her arms around the boy to
console him as he cried and to protect him from being taken by police.

                The police agreed to allow the boy to go
and the young woman and boy walked down the street. As I stared at the
police, the young woman and the boy to ensure their security, I then saw a
team of officers snatch the boy out of the young womanís arms dropping
her and another young woman immediately to the floor using batons and
excessive force. As the crowd of young Arab Americans
 stared on an immediate sense of shock and urgency emerged in which
members of the crowd tried to cross the barrier to pick up the two women
off the floor and protect the young screaming child. As I ran in shock
toward the child a police officer slammed the barrier with his baton
about an inch away from my elbow. I then stared shocked and put my hands
up as he jammed his baton across my mid section dropping me to the
ground. From the ground I looked up only to find another officer slamming
his baton onto the the previously broken arm of an Arab American boy. The
Police were swinging batons excessively knocking down only who appeared
to be of Arab descent to the ground. About ten Arab American youth were
brutally attacked by police as they screamed ìback upî while they
surrounded the crowd of activist by a mob of officers turning the
screaming, angry and fearful crowd into an enclave of police brutality.
The police officers pushed the barriers hard and fast jamming them into
the stomachs of the youth at the front lines.  Police arrested three and
about an hour later sealed the entrances of the Civic Center Bart Station
detaining six young Arab American men lining them up against a wall and
later arresting them. Several youth went home injured or to the hospital
in ambulances.

                The Arab American community in the Bay Area
is deeply saddened by this incident and is steadfast on holding those ac
countable for police brutality against innocent civilians. However before
we can embark on this pursuit of justice, it is our responsibility to
protect the civil rights of our youth and make them feel supported and
understand the value of community power. The youth are in jail right now
and we need to post $250,000 to release them. The money will be put up as
a bond so can therefore be returned to you. We are asking for every Arab
American in the San Francisco Bay Area community to contribute at least
what they would for their own children. As we chanted in the demonstration
today "aint no power like the power of the youth because of the power of
the youth don't stop." We are asking for you to believe in your
community and support our youth in a much needed time. To loan these youth
some money please contact Tev at 774-240-3403. We are trying to release
them from jail this evening or tomorrow at the latest.

 Note: The money given is a LOAN and will be returned after the people
involved go to their scheduled court date.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Loubna Qutami