[Hpn] Police, Protesters Clash in New Orleans

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 20 Dec 2007 23:01:09 -0500


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      Police, Protesters Clash in New Orleans
     =20
    =20
      Dec 20 2007
      By CAIN BURDEAU
      Associated Press Writer =20
    =20
      NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Police used chemical spray and stun guns =
Thursday as dozens of protesters seeking to halt the demolition of 4,500 =
public housing units tried to force their way through an iron gate at =
City Hall.=20
      One woman was sprayed with chemicals and dragged from the gates. =
She was taken away on a stretcher by emergency officials. Before that, =
the woman was seen pouring water from a bottle into her eyes and =
weeping.=20

      Another woman said she was stunned by officers, and still had what =
appeared to be a Taser wire hanging from her shirt.=20

      "I was just standing, trying to get into my City Council meeting," =
said the woman, Kim Ellis.=20

      Arrests were made as officers tried to establish order.=20

      Inside, a scuffle also occurred in the City Council chambers as =
the meeting opened. Several protesters were forced out, including a =
woman who was carried, and a recess was called. The room was calm once =
the meeting resumed.=20

      Protesters had planned to disrupt the City Council meeting, where =
members were expected to approve demolishing dozens of buildings-a move =
that would open racial and class divisions.=20

      The council chambers seat less than 300. Once capacity was =
reached, people who were not permitted into chambers marched and =
chanted. Eventually violence broke out.=20

      The City Council vote is a critical moment in a protracted fight =
between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and =
residents, activists and preservationists.=20

      HUD wants to demolish the buildings, most of them damaged by =
Hurricane Katrina, so developers can take advantage of tax credits and =
build new mixed-income neighborhoods.=20

      The council's approval of the demolition is required under the =
city's charter.=20

      HUD says the redevelopment, in the works before Katrina hit, will =
mark an end to the city's failed public housing experiment that lumped =
the poor into crime-ridden complexes and marooned them outside the life =
of the rest of the city.=20

      But critics say the plan will shrink the stock of cheap housing at =
a time when housing is scarce and drive poor blacks out of the city. =
They also say the buildings are, contrary to popular opinion, mostly =
handsome brick structures that will outlast anything HUD builds in their =
place.=20

      A news release from the Coalition to Stop the Demolition, one of =
several groups organizing protesters, characterized the pending action =
as a "rubber stamp" at a "sham meeting."=20

      "It is beyond callous, and can only be seen as malicious =
discrimination. It is an unabashed attempt to eliminate the black =
population of New Orleans," said Kali Akuno, an organizer with the =
group.=20

      A recent shake-up on the seven-member City Council turned it into =
a majority white chamber for the first time since the 1980s, a shift =
that will certainly make the vote even more racially charged.=20

      Three of the council's white members were quick to say they =
supported the tear-down plan, while the council's three black members =
were hesitant about expressing their intentions.=20

      One black member, Cynthia Hedge Morrell, issued a statement late =
Wednesday in favor of demolitions. The fourth white member, Council =
President Arnie Fielkow, has been careful to tread the middle ground, =
but a spokeswoman said Thursday he supports demolition.=20

      "It's not racist and it's truly not a done deal behind the =
scenes," said Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, a newly elected =
councilmember-at- large, about the council's pending vote.=20

      ___=20

      Associated Press writer John Gonzales contributed to this story.=20

      ___=20

      On the Net:=20

      http://www.nocitycouncil.com=20

      http://www.defendneworleanspublichousing.org=20


    =20



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      <DIV>Police, Protesters Clash in New Orleans</DIV>
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      20&nbsp;2007</SPAN><BR><SPAN=20
      style=3D"FONT-SIZE: 12px; FONT-STYLE: italic; WHITE-SPACE: =
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      BURDEAU<BR>Associated Press Writer</SPAN></TD>
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      class=3Dlingo_region>NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Police used chemical spray =
and stun=20
      guns Thursday as dozens of protesters seeking to halt the =
demolition of=20
      4,500 public housing units tried to force their way through an =
iron gate=20
      at City Hall.=20
      <P>One woman was sprayed with chemicals and dragged from the =
gates. She=20
      was taken away on a stretcher by emergency officials. Before that, =
the=20
      woman was seen pouring water from a bottle into her eyes and =
weeping.=20
      <P>Another woman said she was stunned by officers, and still had =
what=20
      appeared to be a Taser wire hanging from her shirt.=20
      <P>"I was just standing, trying to get into my City Council =
meeting," said=20
      the woman, Kim Ellis.=20
      <P>Arrests were made as officers tried to establish order.=20
      <P>Inside, a scuffle also occurred in the City Council chambers as =
the=20
      meeting opened. Several protesters were forced out, including a =
woman who=20
      was carried, and a recess was called. The room was calm once the =
meeting=20
      resumed.=20
      <P>Protesters had planned to disrupt the City Council meeting, =
where=20
      members were expected to approve demolishing dozens of =
buildings=97a move=20
      that would open racial and class divisions.=20
      <P>The council chambers seat less than 300. Once capacity was =
reached,=20
      people who were not permitted into chambers marched and chanted.=20
      Eventually violence broke out.=20
      <P>The City Council vote is a critical moment in a protracted =
fight=20
      between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and=20
      residents, activists and preservationists.=20
      <P>HUD wants to demolish the buildings, most of them damaged by <A =

      style=3D"FONT-WEIGHT: 400; FONT-SIZE: 14px; COLOR: black; =
FONT-STYLE: normal; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; TEXT-DECORATION: underline"=20
      =
href=3D'http://search.breitbart.com/q?s=3D"Hurricane+Katrina"&amp;sid=3Db=
reitbart.com'=20
      rel=3Dnofollow=20
      =
_old_href=3D"http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.breitbart.com%2Fq%3Fs%3D%22Hurricane%2BK=
atrina%22%26sid%3Dbreitbart.com">Hurricane=20
      Katrina</A>, so developers can take advantage of <A=20
      style=3D"FONT-WEIGHT: 400; FONT-SIZE: 14px; COLOR: black; =
FONT-STYLE: normal; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; TEXT-DECORATION: underline"=20
      =
href=3D'http://search.breitbart.com/q?s=3D"tax+credits"&amp;sid=3Dbreitba=
rt.com'=20
      rel=3Dnofollow=20
      =
_old_href=3D"http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.breitbart.com%2Fq%3Fs%3D%22tax%2Bcredits=
%22%26sid%3Dbreitbart.com">tax=20
      credits</A> and build new mixed-income neighborhoods.=20
      <P>The council's approval of the demolition is required under the =
city's=20
      charter.=20
      <P>HUD says the redevelopment, in the works before Katrina hit, =
will mark=20
      an end to the city's failed public housing experiment that lumped =
the poor=20
      into crime-ridden complexes and marooned them outside the life of =
the rest=20
      of the city.=20
      <P>But critics say the plan will shrink the stock of cheap housing =
at a=20
      time when housing is scarce and drive poor blacks out of the city. =
They=20
      also say the buildings are, contrary to popular opinion, mostly =
handsome=20
      brick structures that will outlast anything HUD builds in their =
place.=20
      <P>A news release from the Coalition to Stop the Demolition, one =
of=20
      several groups organizing protesters, characterized the pending =
action as=20
      a "<A=20
      style=3D"FONT-WEIGHT: 400; FONT-SIZE: 14px; COLOR: black; =
FONT-STYLE: normal; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; TEXT-DECORATION: underline"=20
      =
href=3D'http://search.breitbart.com/q?s=3D"rubber+stamp"&amp;sid=3Dbreitb=
art.com'=20
      rel=3Dnofollow=20
      =
_old_href=3D"http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.breitbart.com%2Fq%3Fs%3D%22rubber%2Bstam=
p%22%26sid%3Dbreitbart.com">rubber=20
      stamp</A>" at a "sham meeting."=20
      <P>"It is beyond callous, and can only be seen as malicious=20
      discrimination. It is an unabashed attempt to eliminate the <A=20
      style=3D"FONT-WEIGHT: 400; FONT-SIZE: 14px; COLOR: black; =
FONT-STYLE: normal; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; TEXT-DECORATION: underline"=20
      =
href=3D'http://search.breitbart.com/q?s=3D"black+population"&amp;sid=3Dbr=
eitbart.com'=20
      rel=3Dnofollow=20
      =
_old_href=3D"http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.breitbart.com%2Fq%3Fs%3D%22black%2Bpopul=
ation%22%26sid%3Dbreitbart.com">black=20
      population</A> of <A=20
      style=3D"FONT-WEIGHT: 400; FONT-SIZE: 14px; COLOR: black; =
FONT-STYLE: normal; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; TEXT-DECORATION: underline"=20
      =
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rt.com'=20
      rel=3Dnofollow=20
      =
_old_href=3D"http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.breitbart.com%2Fq%3Fs%3D%22New%2BOrleans=
%22%26sid%3Dbreitbart.com">New=20
      Orleans</A>," said Kali Akuno, an organizer with the group.=20
      <P>A recent shake-up on the seven-member City Council turned it =
into a=20
      majority white chamber for the first time since the 1980s, a shift =
that=20
      will certainly make the vote even more racially charged.=20
      <P>Three of the council's white members were quick to say they =
supported=20
      the tear-down plan, while the council's three black members were =
hesitant=20
      about expressing their intentions.=20
      <P>One black member, Cynthia Hedge Morrell, issued a statement =
late=20
      Wednesday in favor of demolitions. The fourth white member, =
Council=20
      President Arnie Fielkow, has been careful to tread the middle =
ground, but=20
      a spokeswoman said Thursday he supports demolition.=20
      <P>"It's not racist and it's truly not a done deal behind the =
scenes,"=20
      said Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, a newly elected =
councilmember-at- large,=20
      about the council's pending vote.=20
      <P>___=20
      <P>Associated Press writer John Gonzales contributed to this =
story.=20
      <P>___=20
      <P>On the Net:=20
      <P>http://www.nocitycouncil.com=20
      <P>http://www.defendneworleanspublichousing.org=20
      <P>
      <P></SPAN></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV>
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