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In the early hours of dusk on New Years Eve, anarchists marched on the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre to show those on the inside are not forgotten by those on the outside.
We entered the prison grounds playing loud music and amplifying our voices. We walked through the gate and to the front of the prison complex. A short statement was read (this was read at all our stops around the prison) and anti-prison greetings yelled. Prison guards (screws) increasing in number, began to approach and insist we leave the property - but didn't take any action except to inform us they'd phoned the cops. This detention centre is also where noise demo's were held in the summer of 2010, when women and children amoung the 492 Tamil refugees were held captive after being were pulled off the Sun Sea boat.
Looking to make contact with the prisoners, the march went back out along
the outer edge of fence carrying a banner reading "Prisoners to the
Streets" for the youth inside to see.
A speaker stated we were also here to remember Ashley Smith, a 19 year old
woman who died in custody in 2007. At 15 years old, she was sentenced to
one month for throwing a crab apple at a postman. She refused to comply
with orders, was routinely beaten and took to self harm. After four years,
she strangled herself while being watched by seven guards. The prison and
the screws killed Ashley Smith.
As the screws looked on smirking, our chant followed; "SCREWS, PIGS,
We rounded the Northern perimeter into a parking lot that brought us
closer to the prison. Our music, anti-prison chants and greeting
statements were further amplified as they ricocheted between the
buildings. Youth began to appear in the windows, tearing down curtains,
waving and banging. Smiles broke across out across our faces in happiness
The experts of these institutions say that prison 'fixes' the delinquent -
but it doesn't fix a society where people struggle to survive, are taken
away from their families, or are born into a legacy of violence created by
colonization and war.
Police, including a K9 unit, began to arrive in numbers equaling our own.
Parting cheers and chants were yelled and fireworks lit off as we started
to leave the premises. The group of pigs entered the lot just as we were
exiting. They looked like they were about ready to pounce on us but cooled
down as we left. They followed us for a few blocks while our system
blasted out the classic N.W.A. hit, "Fuck the Police." When one of the
cops asked us what the black flags meant, multiple comrades responded;
"They mean, 'Fuck Off!'"
We have no use for reform or discussion with the tools of social control.
The criminal justice system attempts to create morally and socially
'corrected' individuals. The social and moral mores of this society:
respect for private property and authority, are imposed through
discipline, punishment and the softer coercion of social welfare. This
society has little to offer but continued subjugation and exploitation.
Its time we take our lives back into our own hands and fight back.
Against all prisons and the world that needs them!