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#ShutDownICE Protesters Shocked When When Pick-Up Truck Drives Through Their Blockade


- August 15th, 2019
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A pickup truck drove into a row of protesters who were blocking the entrance to an ICE detention center in Rhode Island, Wednesday night, forcing them to scatter.

“The whole world is watching!” the shocked crowd chanted in response. The truck reportedly belonged to a guard at the facility.

To add insult to injury, guards from the detention center later came out and pepper-sprayed the protesters.

No one was seriously injured, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported.

The incident happened at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island, where hundreds of Jewish activists had gathered. The protest was organized by Never Again Action, a Jewish group that has been holding #ShutDownICE demonstrations in cities throughout the nation.

Their attempt to block the facility in Central Falls ended abruptly.

At around 9:45 p.m., according to video, an eyewitness and social media posts from the protest, a black pickup truck driving 10 to 15 miles per hour drove into a group of about 30 people who were sitting in a row and blocking the street that fed into the detention center’s parking lot.

Video of the incident shows people screaming and running as the car moves slowly into the crowd. The crowd then broke out into a chant of “The whole world is watching.” Protesters surrounded the truck.

Never Again Action said in a tweet that the car belonged to a guard at the detention center.

“Oh my god,” the group tweeted. “An ICE Detention Center guard just drove their truck straight through a line of us sitting peacefully to block the parking lot. There don’t appear to be major injuries, still assessing the situation, police are moving in *on us* now.”

“The truck came in and people ran,” protester Lex Rofeberg told the JTA. “I don’t think someone got directly hit by the car.”

A few minutes later, detention center guards came out and pepper-sprayed the protesters. “All of us who were in the vicinity caught some of the tear gas,” Rofeberg said.

Another person at the scene said “Everybody is OK, thank you for asking. I don’t think anyone’s hurt,” although ABC reported that “about a dozen people were treated for irritation due to the pepper spray”  and “one person was taken to the hospital for a minor injury.”

“It was shocking, it was unexpected,” Rofeberg told JTA. “There’s some amount of risk when you go to an action like this. You don’t expect it to unfold like this.”

The protesters chanted “we’ll be back!” as they left the scene. The detention center will likely be ready for them.

ICE employees are on high alert in the wake of a series of increasingly violent attacks on detention facilities.

The latest attack came early Tuesday morning, when armed perpetrators shot at ICE offices in San Antonio, Texas, in what the FBI has described as a “targeted attack.” Though no one was injured, FBI Agent Christopher Combs said in a news conference that “had the bullets gone two inches in another direction, we could be here today talking about the murder of a federal official.”

The number of perpetrators, their identity, and their motives are all currently unknown. According to Combs, however, all of the fired shots were directed at floors of the office complex allotted to ICE, indicating that the perpetrator(s) had done research beforehand. The timing of the attack also suggests that it may have been intended to intimidate, rather than harm, ICE employees.

This incident is only the most recent entry in a growing list of direct actions against immigration enforcement officials. A similar attack occurred on July 14, when a man associated with Antifa attempted to assault an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington, while armed with a rifle and “incendiary devices” and was fatally shot by police. The episode came just over a day after a mob of protestors descended on another ICE facility in Aurora, Colorado, on July 12, pulled down an American flag, and raised a Mexican one in its place. Then, on July 16, ICE headquarters in D.C. was the site of a large protest in which 10 people were arrested for unlawfully entering the building.

The protesters in D.C. had first parked themselves in front of the agency building, linking arms in front of entrance and exit doors, according to WJLA-TV.  ICE employees returning from their lunch break were prevented from entering the building.

That protest was also led by Never Again Action.

Former acting ICE director Tom Homan said on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday blamed the “hateful rhetoric” from the squad, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 2020 presidential candidates for the dangerous escalation of hostility toward ICE employees around the country.

“I have to blame the Democratic hateful rhetoric that you hear from the squad, AOC, the Speaker of the House, just about everybody running for president on the Democratic ticket wants to abolish ICE, you know, we’re Nazis, we’re racists, we run concentration camps and they wonder why people are emboldened to do these things,” he said.

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