Tucson Police Officers Assaulted, Protesters Pepper Sprayed In Downtown Clash

On Thursday, Tucson Police responded to an “emergency protest” organized by La Union del Pueblo Entero (L.U.P.E) outside of the Federal Building on West Congress Street at Granada Avenue in downtown. The protest was part of the national ‘Day Without Immigrants’ strike.

The protest began peacefully. However, protesters blocked a police vehicle and tensions grew. When an officer was struck from behind and police attempted to arrest a member of the Brown Berets, police officers used pepper spray on some of the protesters including elderly women.

One video posted on social media showed a police officer trying to contact protest organizers in an effort to deescalate the situation. He approached attorney Isabel Garcia, of Derechos Humanos, and asked if she was an organizer. Garcia responded, “We are organizers,” and walked away from the officer. The officer asked if the organizers were willing to work together, but his request was ignored.

The protest was small with only about 80 participants.

On February 15, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that agitators were falsely reporting “roundups.”

Activists/agitators/citizen journalists did arrive to document Thursday’s protest. In an article on Westword, Unicorn Riot is reported to walk “a curious line between activism and journalism: Unlike those in traditional news media, Unicorn Riot’s videographers don’t just stand by during protests or police confrontations, showing what’s going on from the sidelines.”

“The group acknowledges that it’s not trying to be neutral,” according to the Westword report.

Unicorn Riot is a volunteer-operated decentralized media collective born from the Internet in 2015, we operate non-hierarchically, independent of corporate and government funding. The non-profit media organization currently spans across multiple US cities including Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and New York City.

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