In a blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to silence dissent, the first trial of people arrested at Inauguration Day “Disrupt J20” protests ended Thursday with all of the defendants found not guilty of all charges. Six people faced multiple felonies and 50 years in prison for just being in the area where anti-fascist and anti-capitalist protesters were marching. During the protest, police blockaded more than 200 people into a corner in a process known as “kettling” and carried out mass arrests of everyone nearby, including medics, legal observers and some journalists. This first case was closely watched as a bellwether for free speech, because one of the six people on trial was Alexei Wood, an independent photojournalist from San Antonio, Texas, whose work focuses on resistance movements. He came to document protests during the inauguration on January 20 and live-streamed the street detentions by police and even his own arrest. Alexei Wood joins DN! from Washington, D.C., and DN! also speaks with Jude Ortiz, a member of the organizing crew of Defend J20 and the Mass Defense Committee chair for the National Lawyers Guild.
Human Rights and Equality
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