Portland Indymedia | 29.10.2001 21:19
On Friday, police had said their presence would be "minimal" if protesters did not "break the law" or become violent. Laws regarding public assembly and speech in Little Rock recently changed, however, at the behest of Stephens, which pressured the Little Rock City Council into adopting a new ordinance regarding public assembly and speech. The result, brutal attacks by police on protesters, seems the intended result of the promulgation, and reflects a broader -- indeed global -- pattern of individual liberties being sacrificed to serve corporate interests.
Showdown background: According to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), "a line has been drawn in the sand between those who support animal rights and those who are pro animal testing. The conflict is between Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and Stephens Inc., and the battleground is Huntingdon Life Sciences [HLS]." The adversaries met in Little Rock, Arkansas, this weekend, and are holding a rally against Stephens this afternoon. Months in the planning, SHAC actions are intended to force Stephens to withdraw their financial support from HLS. Earlier this year, Stephens saved HLS from bankruptcy after other companies divested themselves of HLS shares under pressure from SHAC.
According to SHAC, HLS kills 500 animals a day in the course of its medical research. HLS calls this science, SHAC murder. The scientific community is itself divided, with some members taking a stand against it.
Little Rock does not have an IMC, but a Portland Indymedia reporter is on-the-ground there and has been posting regular reports here, and has been calling in by cell-phone.
Local Solidarity Action- Portland activists will be protesting at Bank of America on 5th and Main in downtown on Monday, 29th from 12-2 in solidarity with the Little Rock campaign. There will be concurrent actions in other US and European cities.