For Immediate Release
1:30 PM – Meet at sculpture, outside Bernalillo Metro Court for overview
2:00 PM – Trial: Courtroom 400
This afternoon, one of the lead attackers of student protesters last
February, Paul Chacho, a retired employee of UNM, will face the first
of two charges of battery at Metro Court. (un)Occupy Albuquerque and
members of the broader community will be attending, dressed in the
colors of the Palestinian flag, to show their support for justice for
the victims of hateful violence.
On February 23rd, the UNM Israel Alliance presented a speech by
Nonie Darwish, an islamophobic speaker who has called for annihilating
Islam. Rejecting hate-speech and Israel’s human rights violations,
students with (un)Occupy Albuquerque performed a mic-check during the
speech. Almost instantly, Darwish’s supporters attacked the students,
throwing one over a row of seats, and, targeting women, grabbed and
beat others, giving them cuts and other injuries. Mr. Chacho grabbed
one student by the hair, clawing at her face and beating her on the
head; sending her to the ER with a concussion.
But though Mr. Chacho is the only one charged in the attack, he
is far from the only person responsible. More attackers have been
identified to the UNM Police, but no action has been taken against
them. One student injured in the attack received a written reprimand
for her activism, even as her attacker remains unaccountable.
The intolerance at the talk was not isolated to this incident
either. Anyone perceived as Muslim was harassed, and during the Q&A
session, participants, including a former Faculty Senate president,
were booed off the mic or had the mic grabbed from their hands. In
the weeks after, numerous activists received death threats, and one was
stalked and harassed at her workplace by her attackers.
Throughout this all, the UNM IA has shown its true values by
refusing to speak out against the violence. Sadly this comes as no
surprise, since Israel is a nation with its own history of violently
stifling non-violent dissent. (un)Occupy Albuquerque does not stand for
violence or retribution. Instead we demand justice and accountability
for all people hurt by Israel’s doctrine of violence, both abroad, and
on our campus.
(un)Occupy Albuquerque is an open group of New Mexicans working
in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and others around the globe. The
Occupy movement works to change the grossly unequal distribution of
wealth and control in the U.S. and worldwide.