This is another post about the Music of Nonviolent Action event that I helped organize and facilitate back in June of this year.
This post was written by Viola Granger and originally appeared on the United States Institute of Peace’s Olive Branch blog.
In Libya’s 2011 uprising, protesters pumped loud music from radios or CD players in the streets in front of government buildings, then fled from the inevitable rush of security forces. The nonviolent early days of Egypt’s revolution that same year spawned a raft of new independent music groups. In Turkey, the “Song of Pots and Pans” exhorts political leaders to stop their lies and repressive tactics.
On Saturday, August 20th at 11:30am I, along with 65 other people, were arrested for “failure to obey a lawful order.” I was hand cuffed with my hands behind my back, stuffed into the back of a police wagon with 16 other men, where we remained for over an hour and a half in 90+ degree heat, many of us in suits and ties, sweating profusely as the wagon temperature steadily rose. We were driven to the Washington, DC processing center in Anacostia where we were eventually taken out of the wagons and lined up against the wall, still in handcuffs. To combat the heat and prevent dehydration we were provided fluids by tilting our heads back as water was poured into our mouths. The handcuffs were finally taken off after we were escorted into the building where our possessions were bagged – shoe laces, belts, wedding ring, watch – and our bodies thoroughly frisked. We were finger printed and our information was recorded – address, age, race, eye color. We were crammed, 13 to 14 people at a time, into 6×8 holding cells equipped with one metal bench welded to the wall and a small metal toilet/sink combo, where we held for several hours. I, along with 6 other arrestees who lived in the area, was released at around 7:00pm that same day, while the others who were from out of town, spent the next two nights in jail. This is the story of my first arrest. It was hot, crammed, enlightening and amazing all at the same time!