For Immediate Release
for more info contact announce (at) nyanarchistfilmfest.org
Yesterday, April 13 in Brooklyn NY, the NYPD entered without a warrant 13
Thames Art Space, a Bushwick based art and performance space where members
of the Independent Anarchist Media (I AM) Collective have been organizing
the Fourth Annual NYC Anarchist Film Festival in honor of Brad Will
Two plainclothes detectives entered first, followed quickly by a
Lieutenant and vans full of blue shirt officers. After corralling
present in the back room, they searched the space and detained and
two members of the collective.
The I AM collective was preparing for the NYC Anarchist Film Festival, a
showcase of resistance movements and insurrectionary events from around
world presented from an anarchist and anti-authoritarian perspective.
The I AM collective issued the following statement following the raid:
"regardless of these attacks, the film festival will happen as planned on
Friday April 16, 2010 at Judson Memorial Church. The voice of
decentralized creative communities will not be silenced by police
repression. They cannot stop us with illegal raids and targeted
harassment, because we are everywhere."
Two female undercover officers entered the space through an open front door at around 2pm, accusing the approximately 7-8 people there of “illegally squatting” and demanding to see IDs. The officers left after being shown rent receipts but returned within minutes with uniformed officers, after checking the names on police databases.
Two of those present were arrested on previous unpaid misdemeanor tickets—one a several-month-old charge for violating New York City’s open container law, by drinking a beer on a sidewalk.
In an interview with the Committee to Protect Bloggers, a member of the I AM Collective reported that senior police officers and two vans of uniformed police were present at the raid. The spokesperson reported that after the two were arrested and taken to the 90th Precinct in Brooklyn, police showed them two flyers—for the April 16th Fourth Annual NYC Anarchist Film Festival and a for a pre-festival party the night before—and asked them if they knew who was organizing the events.
The leaflet for the film festival itself, whose main image is a fiery heart, promises “the most volatile and insurrectionary film festival of the year!” The flyer for the “Fuck your idols” pre-festival party depicts the pope wearing bondage gear and a police officer with a riot shield on fire. The film festival is scheduled to include films shot by independent journalists and citizen media groups from Greece, the COP-15 climate summit in Denmark, and the Pittsburgh G-20.
The two arrested were released 24 hours later after being sentenced by a judge to “time served” for the night spent in jail.
The I AM spokesperson added that collective members have seen evidence of surveillance in the last few days, with unknown persons spotted appearing to take an interest in the warehouse space and noted that, an hour before the April 13th raid, both the electricity and internet connection to the warehouse were cut. Both utilities were restored a couple of hours after the raid was concluded.
I AM’s spokesperson expressed concern that tonight’s party would be “attacked by police” and that collective members “fully expected” to see further harassment of the film festival itself.
The New York Times’ Colin Moynihan reported that Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the NYPD’s main spokesman “did not directly respond to the question of whether the police had a warrant to enter the building in the first place.”