Report Back from an Anti-ICE Protest in NC
Over the last week, there has been a wave of ICE arrests across North Carolina. Perhaps the most notable is a workplace raid that took place at Bear Creek Arsenal, a firearms manufacturing plant, but arrests have also been made outside a highschool in Durham, and several dozen reported in Charlotte. The pattern is relatively obvious, ICE is targeting the everyday activities of working-class people and terrorizing them and their families. Thanks, by the way, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for helping to reopen the federal government,the immigrant community really missed ICE, but hey, we all have to make compromises right? Just try explaining it to the crying mothers, fathers, and children missing their family members that you bear political responsibility for.
But hey, we tore down two statues, which have not been re-erected by the way, in NC, so we weren’t exactly about to take this lying down without something of a protest spectacle eh? Spectacle indeed. We, about 70 people, gathered outside of a hotel in Alamance county suspected of housing ICE agents, and definitely hosting a GEO tractor-trailer in the parking lot. GEO being a private prison company by the way. How it was known ICE agents were inside this particular hotel is a bit beyond me, but the GEO truck was clearly marked and present.
As far as the protest itself? Relatively quiet and tame, it was organized at almost the last possible moment, so to see 70 people gathered on such short notice was rather impressive. More impressive was a group of several workers from a local restaurant that walked off their jobs having learned of the protest. Presumably they will be fired. They were quite upset to learn that all the protest did was walk inside the hotel as a group, and demand to speak to management to expel the ICE agents staying inside and then leaving when told management was unavailable. I decided to suggest to the angry workers that we see if we couldn’t gather enough folk together to go back inside and suggest the hotel staff walk out as well. In the process of doing so, we spoke to one of the organizers who told us that he had suggested the same to the hotel staff member he spoke to, and that they were unwilling to do so.
Regardless, the very brief and small momentum we had built up was more or less immediately deflated by this news.
Other than this, notable was a few folks keeping their distance from us, presumably they were red-hat types. I overheard that police had been called and management was inbound, but the crowd was dwindling down and conversations were also dying down, so it was time to leave.