Monday, June 04, 2001

Group protests outside jail

Rebellion needed, say demonstrators

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Supporting Mount Adams protesters who await bond hearings today, a small group of fellow protesters on Sunday proclaimed property outside the county jail “Cincinnati People's Autonomous Commune” and a “Brutality Free-Zone.”

        Several of the 15 to 20 protesters gathered at the Hamilton County Justice Center said the long-term goal is to instill in others the ideal that rebellion is warranted.

        The group was peaceful and had no confrontation with police. Those arrested Saturday night — some from out-of-state, some who refused to identify themselves — could be released this morning.

        The 10 Saturday protesters for whom arrest reports were available Sunday were charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest or both.

        “Last night, I slept here,” Mark Farkis, 26, said Sunday, pointing to a tent on a small grassy area. “The long-term goal is to see folks keep it up, and see political prisoners of the rebellion in April considered political prisoners.

        “Sometimes, rebellion is the only voice," he said.

        He said he's formerly of central Kentucky, but said his current home is the “Autonomous Commune,” which he considers a sovereign entity.

        All those gathered outside the jail Sunday were white, as were nine of the 10 arrestees documented.

        They said they were protesting police treatment of minorities in Cincinnati, and acknowledged that some arrested in Mount Adams on Saturday night were blocking traffic.

        “We're out here to protest police brutality,” Cindy Mitchell, 25, of New York City said. “The focus on us being here is that blacks know we are in support of them.”

        The group said an unknown person overnight took down the American flag on the justice center grounds and raised it upside down — a sign of distress.

        Sunday morning, sheriff's deputies removed it and carefully folded it in the military tradition in front of protesters, then quietly left with it.


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