|NEW ORLEANS (DEC. 20, 2007) -At least one person was tasered by
police, a few others chemical-sprayed, and 15 arrests made, creating a
chaotic scene at the city of New Orleans council chambers on Thursday.
Several injuries were reported.
With a light drizzling rain falling, activists protesting the demolitions of the
city's housing projects held a boisterous demonstration, calling for the city
council to vote against the demolitions, the most controversial issue on their
As renowned activist-attorney Bill Quigley took his place in line to enter about
10am, police shut and locked the entrance gate, reportedly because the
chamber was filled to its capacity, due to fire code regulations. Protesters put
up signs reading "stop the demolitions". Some city council meetings in this
ravaged city have attracted overflow crowds in the past.
The streets leading to the New Orleans city hall complex were cordoned off
by police soon after that. Most protesters were upset that they were not
allowed inside. As the council meeting began, the crowd of over 100 and
growing began to chant "no demolitions" or "let us in", and "no housing, no
Some housing project residents, if few in number at the scene, were
represented by the presidents of their respective communities. The presidents
of the Fischer and B. W. Cooper developments made their presence known.
Several homeless people from a makeshift village of tents and cardboard
directly across the street from city hall in Duncan Plaza arrived, and one
homeless lady repeatedly shouted emotional profanities against the
demolitions and the council.
Some people in the crowd uttered their beliefs that the council had already
decided to vote for the demolitions. Indeed, several council members had
already made their positions publicly known before today's vote.
Arrests were made inside the meeting, as several vocal members of the
audience interrupted council members. Those arrested were escorted out to
police vans through the opposite side of the building.
As the crowd outside surged toward a locked driveway entrance gate at the
epicenter of the scene outside, where over a dozen police officers stood
guard, police responded with a burst of chemical spray. One protester, a
young lady, was hit with a jolt from a police taser gun.
Soon after, New Orleans police on horseback positioned themselves on the
opposite side of the locked gate. One activist was heard calling for a recall of
council member Jackie Clarkson, one of the most outspoken proponents of
the demolitions.Rain eventually forced much of the crowd to disperse.
The council later voted unanimously in favor of the demolitions. Mayor C
Ray Nagin said he applauds the council for their decision.
Copyright © 2007 katrinaconnection.com
|New Orleans Demolition Protests Reach Fever Pitch
story & photos by Phil Moore
| KATRINA CONNECTION