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Anti-ICE Protests Are Reemergence of Grassroots Action Democrats Can’t Control

© AP Photo / Gregory BullProtesters block the entrance to a downtown federal building housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices Monday, July 2, 2018, in San Diego.
Protesters block the entrance to a downtown federal building housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices Monday, July 2, 2018, in San Diego. - Sputnik International
Since the national outcry over US President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in a massive increase of undocumented families becoming separated from each other, protesters around the country have been occupying space outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices 24 hours a day.

Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary was joined by Anlin Wang, an organizer with the Democratic Socialists of America who has been working on the ICE occupation in Philadelphia, and by Sputnik News Analyst Walter Smolarek, to talk about the destruction of the encampment outside the ICE building by Philadelphia police Thursday as well as the national movement against ICE.

After police raided the anti-ICE camp in Philadelphia, activists set up yet another camp nearby. "What people need to understand about the police sweep yesterday was that… the police lied to us every step of the way. From the very morning, [Department of Homeland Security] officials asked us to unblock the entrance. We did."

Later, Wang said, US officials increased their demands, ordering protesters to get completely off the sidewalk. "We did again," he told hosts Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon.

(Interview begins at 19:03)

​He said that while protesters were attempting to leave the area, police started giving "conflicting orders." Amid the ensuing confusion, "all the sudden, police started bum-rushing us and destroying our equipment, dragging people away. Reports of beating people, the air was filled with screams of pain," Wang said.

"This action is not one which Philadelphia is doing alone. It is happening [within]… a national movement," Wang noted. Cities with major protests outside ICE properties include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Portland, San Diego, Atlanta, Tacoma and more. Some have even forced the agency to halt operations."

"Our aim is to spread this sort of action across the country to make it abundantly clear that the fascistic-style actions of ICE are not to be acceptable under any circumstance and are to be resisted by any means necessary," Wang said.

Smolarek noted the significance of the push against ICE, commenting that "since Trump was elected there's been this debate about — what does resistance to the Trump administration mean?" In the first months after the election Smolarek noted, "we saw sort of grassroots people's resistance. You know, thousands and thousands of people taking to the streets on a regular basis."  

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer guards a group of 116 Salvadorean immigrants that wait to be deported,at Willacy Detention facility in Raymondville, Texas on December 18, 2008 - Sputnik International
‘Abolish ICE’ May Birth New Deportation-Focused Agency If Politicians Take Over

However, "what we saw, I would say, since maybe April or May of 2017 was, the establishment of the Democratic Party was able to basically redirect that energy, or much of that energy, into basically the Mueller investigation — into these sort of conspiracy theories, or opposing Trump on the basis of his rudeness or perceived lack of patriotism," Smolarek noted, adding that the Democrats have been waging a war from the right of Trump on issues such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"What these ICE occupations, and also the mass demonstrations and rallies [against ICE] that have been happening for several weeks now… represents is a reemergence of the sort of grassroots people's opposition to the extreme, reactionary, racist, brutal policies of the Trump administration in a way that's outside of the control of mainstream establishment politicians," Smolarek observed.

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