I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, January 27, 2012

ALEC watch: protests continue in New Mexico.


Protesters Scuffle With Lobbyists

Albuquerque Journal 
Fri, Jan 27, 2012
SANTA FE – A fracas that started after protesters affiliated with the occupy movement disrupted a legislative lobbying dinner at a downtown hotel left two people injured, lawmakers steamed and police investigating.

The incident marks the second time in two weeks protesters apparently affiliated with anti-corporation occupy groups disrupted state legislative functions. In the earlier incident, protesters were removed from Gov. Susana Martinez’s State of the State address after screams related to corporate taxes.

“We all believe in free speech,” said Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, a retired FBI agent who recently served as Roswell’s interim police chief. “But there’s also freedom of assembly, and I believe that was infringed upon,” he said Thursday, referring to the latest incident.

Santa Fe police said the handful of unidentified protesters took their demonstration into a banquet hall Wednesday at the Eldorado Hotel where the pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council – or ALEC – was hosting a dinner for New Mexico lawmakers. Protesters threw envelopes at dinner guests and sparked a confrontation with lobbyists there before leaving the hotel, said police Capt. Aric Wheeler. No arrests were made.

Lawmakers said Thursday that a guest of Rep. William “Bill” Rehm, R-Albuquerque, was struck in the eye by a protester’s leaflet and suffered minor injuries. A second woman injured her hand as protesters and lobbyists pushed and shoved over a camera, the Santa Fe police captain said.

Rehm declined to comment on the situation Thursday, speaking through the House Republican caucus. A party spokeswoman said the eye injury was improving.

In remarks made on the Senate floor Thursday, GOP Whip William Payne of Albuquerque decried the incident as a “very ugly, ugly scene.”

“I think there needs to be arrests made, and there needs to be prosecutions of some of these people,” Payne said.

Police said they’re still trying to identify those involved. They arrived after the protesters had left.

Republican House Whip Donald Bratton, of Hobbs, without naming names, warned fellow lawmakers against stoking the fires of political protest amid a tense political environment by encouraging the protesters.

“I would caution all members of the House to be careful with regard to the role they play (to) elevate debate and evoke emotion, because when emotion comes into play … then reason tends to go out the window, and anarchy comes into play. We have a responsibility to be civil,” Bratton said on the House floor Thursday, responding to the protest.

Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, who has met with Occupy Santa Fe activists and been sympathetic to some of their views, called the actions of protesters at the Eldorado on Wednesday night “terrible.”

Egolf said his interactions with Occupy Santa Fe and his recent comments criticizing ALEC’s corporate influence on politics had no influence on the behavior of a grass-roots group with which he has no affiliation.

“They (Republicans) were trying to say I was involved in that, and that was just … not at all,” Egolf said.

Protesters on “Occupy New Mexico” online blogs Thursday said they filed police reports against some of the individuals who they say were pushing and shoving protesters the group described as “peaceful.” An online video they filmed doesn’t conclusively show who initiated the physical contact.

In the days leading up to Wednesday’s dinner, Occupy Santa Fe organized a protest, describing ALEC in fliers as a powerful institution in which “greedy corporations and corrupt legislators collude behind closed doors.”

They also accused ALEC of promoting laws that are anti-environment, anti-immigrant and anti-union.

The occupy movement mushroomed in 2011, as those affiliated with the movement expressed a growing disillusionment with social and economic conditions, particularly corporate influence.

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