News Release

Baltimore: * Curfew a Dress Rehearsal? * Israel Protests

Top: Toronto 2010; Bottom: Baltimore 2015

Top: Toronto 2010; Bottom: Baltimore 2015

The New York Times reports: “In a pair of gestures on Sunday that suggested that this riot-scarred city was staggering toward normalcy, the National Guard began to pull its troops from Baltimore, and the mayor lifted a curfew that, after several days of relative calm, had come under mounting criticism.”

PAUL JAY, paul at, @TheRealNews, @PaulJay_TRNN
Jay is senior editor for The Real News, which is based in Baltimore and Toronto. He said in the segment over the weekend “Was Baltimore’s Curfew a Dress Rehearsal for Martial Law?“: “Why are they still spending millions and millions of dollars doing this? They know what’s going on. There’s no serious threat. There’s no question that the police have infiltrated most of the activist groups.

Paul continued: “So why are they still doing it? I think the answer is this is a training exercise. They think — and I think rightly so — that someday it’s not just gonna be some kids out there.

“Someday unemployment’s going to hit 15, 20, 25, 30 percent nationally. Now we’re already in some of the Baltimore poor communities on unemployment at those numbers but imagine what it might be when you have another big economic meltdown. They know serious mass protests are coming. I don’t know if one year, five years. You can’t just throw cops and national guards into a situation like that — especially when the people on the streets might be 20, 30, 40-year-old workers. When they hit the streets, it’s not like kids. You can’t throw your forces into this without getting trained.

“Now, this isn’t entirely speculation on my part. In Toronto, we covered the Toronto G20 [meeting, in 2010] where there were a thousand arrests for absolutely nothing. A few windows got broken by people that they knew very well because we know from court records they infiltrated the Black Bloc. They knew exactly where and when the windows were going to get broken. More so, the police infiltrators were the ones advocating breaking windows. … The police actually left the car out in the middle of the street — they knew ahead of time, because they infiltrated, where the march was going to go — and of course the car gets lit on fire and that becomes the iconic image of the whole thing. A massive, massive police presence, like what happened here [Baltimore].”

“So I asked someone I know who is very senior in the [Toronto] police department. … Is this just a bloody training exercise in like you can’t justify what’s going on based on the threat? And he said yeah, this is that.” See: “Protestors Defy the Curfew” and from 2012: “No Accountability Yet for Toronto G20 Police Crimes.”

JARED BALL, imixwhatilike at, @imixwhatilike
Ball is associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University and author of I MiX What I Like: A MiXtape Manifesto andA Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X. His most recent segment for The Real News is: “‘Thugs,’ ‘Hooligans,’ and ‘Riots,’ Challenging Narratives with Dominque Stevenson.”

He said today: “There is a case to be made that the ‘riot’ Monday (April 25) was a state-instigated event used for a variety of reasons: 1) To create a spectacle to drown out focus on Gray’s funeral. 2) To create a usable incident that would characterize protests or would create a false/straw argument of ‘violent’ vs. ‘peaceful’ protests. 3) Would allow for established religious and political leadership as ‘legitimate’ in their ability to maintain peace (when only the state could threaten it) and 4) To provide a ‘live’ training drill for state-wide police mobilization. There was never a threat of a real mass uprising and every ‘organized’ protest since Monday’s outburst was arranged by young, unseasoned and often non-Baltimore resident ‘activists’ who safely created a media spectacle of marches and protests, etc. but nothing that was the threat potentially represented in that initial uprising.”

AJAMU BARAKA, ajamubaraka2 at
Baraka is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who is based in Colombia. He is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. He recently wrote the piece “Baltimore and the Human Right to Resistance: Rejecting the Framework of the Oppressor.”

He recently posted on Facebook: “Why is there still a curfew in Baltimore and why aren’t more people outraged and calling for its removal? Answer — they are experimenting with tactics to completely clamp down on an urban area, occupy the space militarily and monitor the public response. And because most of the folks being repressed are poor black — and no one really gives a damn about the life of poor black folks, including the black middle-class — there is silence.”

The Washington Post reported Sunday: “Violence erupts as thousands of Ethiopian Israelis protest racism.” Baraka addressed this situation as well: “In largely peaceful demonstrations against racial discrimination that took place in Jerusalem, Ethiopians evoked the spirit of Baltimore. However, it was in the liberal bastion of Tel Aviv that the protests turned into a battle zone between the police and Ethiopian Israelis on Sunday. Like the black middle-class liberals of Baltimore who were incensed that the black rabble would rise up to question their authority, liberal authorities in Tel Aviv decided to violently disperse the largely peaceful demonstrators in Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv. And like the black liberals charged with upholding elite white power in the Baltimore, liberals charged with upholding Ashkenazi elite power in Tel Aviv did not understand that the people had reached a point in which the awesome power of the state no longer generated fear.”