Since 1997, every year on the 15th March, activists from various parts of the world call for protests and direct action against police repression or brutality. At the moment, it is difficult to gather together because of the pandemic but this does not mean that we will remain silent. Violence of authorities destroys local communities and creates a situation where any initiative is punishable not only by fines and days of imprisonment, but also by beatings and torture! While violence against political activists has to some extent fallen compared to the 20th century, today, violence against ordinary people is only increasing. This may be due to indifference, lack of solidarity or discrimination based on age or ethnical group.
On the International Day against Police Repression, the International Young Christian Workers is joining the working class, the civil society and social movements to condemn police violence and state repression.
We are deeply concerned about the escalation in violent police responses to largely peaceful protests in many countries all over the world, which included the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray and, in some cases, live ammunition, in violation of international standards on the use of force and management of assemblies. It is what is happening now in Myanmar, the United States, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Belgium, India and most likely in many other countries.
Additionally, we are greatly concerned by many reports from worker organizers, labor union leaders, young people, migrants and minorities who are harassed by identity checks, police humiliations, red-tagging or are being killed, while law enforcement officers should use their position to serve as a force for unity and protect human rights. IYCW national movements and militants are affected directly. As one militant from YCW Philippines said:
“As a worker organizer, it has become even more difficult for us to have the freedom to organize here in the Philippines because the Anti- terrorism Law paved the way for the government authorities to abuse and harass ordinary people and renowned personalities, groups and worker organizations that have been expressive of their sentiments towards the government’s incompetence and inefficiency in addressing the social and economic problems of the country. Instead of promulgating human rights, hundreds of killings, illegal arrests, trump-up charges, threats and harassment bombarded labor unions, indigenous people, journalists, church people, civil society organizations and movements like us.” – YCW Philippines
Our greatest concern is to end these injustices. Inequality should not be allowed! We will not tolerate the humiliation not only of political activists, worker organizers, indigenous people, migrants and young people, but of all those who are under the pressure of “justice”.
Stop repression of people’s movements!
Stop repression of migrants and Indigenous people!
Stop repression in neighborhoods and communities!