RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA–Following the second fraudulent US presidential election in a row, many liberals and leftists, and even some anarchists, were in a post-Bush-victory funk. But not the 200 anarchist-led demonstrators who on Nov. 5 defiantly marched to the state Republican headquarters carrying a banner, reading, “fuck Bush; Fuck Kerry; We Need A Revolution.”
The rally began as a festive, carnivalesque affair, complete with a large two-headed caricature puppet of the two presidential contenders. As the group marched, they quickly took over an entire street and disrupted traffic. Once at the Republican offices, unknown persons broke out windows, shot off fireworks inside the building, and covered it with radical and anarchist graffiti. They generally trashed the place and left the double-headed puppet as a display that they were not discontented Democrats.
As the police arrived, the demonstrators scattered, with some of them fleeing into a nearby neighborhood. A well-known, local right-winger attacked and detained a woman he suspected of being a march participant. When another woman and man came to her aid, they too were attacked. The two women were violently assaulted by the angry bystander who pressed their faces into the ground and yelled for police. The three, who were presumed to have been at the demonstration, were arrested and charged with a felony count of malicious destruction of property with an incendiary device (the fireworks) and had bail set at $50,000 each.
David Reuben Hensley, Melissa Lynn Brown, and Vanessa Marie Zuloaga, now known as the Raleigh Three, state that they are innocent of the charges but had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and are being targeted by furious police and government authorities looking for someone to scapegoat for the vandalism.
The local press has whipped up a sensationalist furor, playing off fears of anarchists and branding the accused as domestic terrorists. There is no evidence linking those arrested to the vandalism. The inflated charges and excessive bails are the result of political pressure from the Republican Party and an attempt to cover up the assault and illegal arrests.
Who Are the Raleigh Three?
Vanessa, David, and Melissa are all activists from Columbia, South Carolina. They are involved in a variety of activities, from Women in Black to Food Not Bombs.
As soon as people locally and around the country heard of their plight, grass-roots community groups formed to support the Raleigh Three. In less than two weeks, $15,000 was raised to cover the non-refundable bond needed to bail them out of jail.
Soon after the event, the FBI ominously arrived on the scene, invoking the hysteria of homeland security, intervening in a local matter. Using the action as an excuse, the Feds began a campaign of intimidation and harassment aimed at groups and individuals with no connection to the incident.
The local paper assisted in the witch hunt by publishing an article stating that there might be a connection between the vandals and a weekly university event called “Honk for Peace.” One student said the FBI questioned him because his name appeared on a permit for the university approved project. The FBI has also tried to contact several other North Carolina State University student activists to question them about the GOP vandalism.
The ordeal for the Raleigh Three is far from over. The state has brought new charges against them, including felony riot, and the local district attorney has made it clear he intends to make an example of the defendants. One need only think of Free, serving 22 years for vandalism in Oregon, to worry greatly about the fate of these comrades. The mainstream media has already pronounced them guilty. The best way to defend ourselves against the repressive state is to continue our actions in the street and to give full support to those victimized by the government.
Please send donations and requests for information to Liz Albiston, PO Box 281 Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0281; email lalbitston – AT – yahoo – DOT – com for more information.