Good ole southern justice I guess, huh?!?!?
Haven’t these people gone through enough America?? Visit ABC NEWS for the story in photos. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
NEW ORLEANS (Associated Press) — After violent clashes with police at City Hall, protesters vowed that the fight over a plan to demolish 218 public housing buildings for the poor was far from over, both in the courts and on the streets.
On Thursday, police used chemical spray and stun guns on protesters who tried to force their way into a City Council meeting where the members voted unanimously to allow the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish 4,500 public housing units.
The vote allows demolition crews to begin tearing down the buildings within weeks unless they are blocked in the courts. Lawyers fighting the demolition say they have not exhausted their legal options.
Endesha Juakali, a protest leader arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace, said the confrontation with the council was not the last breath from protesters.
“For everything they do, we have to make them pay a political consequence,” Juakali said. He vowed that when the bulldozers try to demolish the St. Bernard complex, “it’s going to be an all out effort.”
For weeks, protesters have been gearing up to battle with bulldozers and have discussed a variety of tactics, including lying in front of the machinery.
Thursday’s confrontation was the most violent and tense of a string of protests that have brought attention to the plight of a growing number of homeless and the lack of inexpensive housing for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Developers chosen by HUD to do the $700 million in redevelopment work said they were eager to get started and that the protracted fight over demolitions has stood in the way of building better communities.
Police said 15 people were arrested on charges ranging from battery to disorderly conduct. Four people were taken to hospitals — two of them women who had been stunned with Tasers — and five others were injured and treated on the scene, police said. All four in the hospital were stable, police said.
Protesters said they pushed against the iron gates that kept them out of the building because the Housing Authority of New Orleans had disproportionately allowed supporters of the demolition to pack the council’s chambers. Dozens tried to force their way in.
At the peak of the confusion, some 70 protesters were facing about a dozen mounted police and 40 more law enforcement officers on foot. Continue reading