Connect with us


Never Again Is Now: 18 people arrested protesting ICE and concentration camps outside the Wyatt Detention Center



18 people, including former State Representative Aaron Regunberg (Democrat, District 4, Providence) and Roger Williams University Professor of Law Jared Goldstein were arrested outside the Wyatt Detention Facility Tuesday evening as they blocked the gate where a Plymouth County Sheriff van was trying to exit. Members of the Central Falls Police Department conducted the arrests with the help of Cumberland Police Department personnel and Rhode Island State Police Troopers.

The protest was staged as a part of a larger, nation-wide series of protests coordinated by Never Again is Now, Jews opposed to President Donald Trump‘s immigration policies, his use of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents as a modern gestapo and the use of brutal concentration camps to warehouse undocumented immigrants and children.

“As Jews, we’ve been taught to never let anything like the Holocaust happen again,” writes organizer Tal Frieden. “Now, with children detained in unacceptable conditions, ICE raids targeting our communities, and people dying at the border while seeking safety in the United States, we are seeing the signs of a mass atrocity. Jews, immigrants, and our allies refuse to wait and see what happens next.”

The Wyatt Detention Facility was targeted because, the private prison is Rhode Island’s only ICE detention facility. The Wyatt board attempted to end the contract to detain immigrants with ICE, but the prison’s bondholders sued to keep the contract in place. That lawsuit is still pending.

Police initially warned protesters who were blocking entrances to the Wyatt that they were risking arrest. When a Plymouth County Sheriff’s van needed to leave the detention center, all 19 protesters risking arrest moved to that gate. 18 were were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and released later that evening.

Can you help Uprise RI?

Funding for our reporting relies on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve and Will on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.

Become a Patron!
Opens in a new tab - you won't lose you place

Here are videos of the arrests:

Though 18 people were arrested, there were 19 people blocking the gate. Sy Gitin, a disabled person in a wheelchair, was left by police officers and not arrested.

“I’m still here,” said Gitin. “I wonder why? Do you think it’s because our system is totally unequipped to deal with disabled people? Is this because the police believe that disabled people can’t make a difference? Well, we fucking can. We’re here!”

“Friends, we came here today, to say resolutely and with purpose, and with our historical trauma in mind, Never Again!” said Tal Frieden, as the protest came to a close. “Our friends were brave today, and they put their bodies on the line. We will continue to throw our bodies into the gears of this system. To shut it down!”

Here are pictures from the arrests.

[Note: This piece continues with video and pictures preceding the arrests, after this first series of photos.]

The protest began with over 250 people crowding onto the sidewalks across the street from the Wyatt. There was chanting, singing and music provided by the Extraordinary Rendition Band (ERB).

After the music there was a series of speakers, prayers, more songs and more chants, starting with organizer Tal Frieden:

Arely Diaz from AMOR (Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance):

Sy Gitin:

Aaron Regunberg:

Rabbi Michelle Dardashti:

After the first round of speakers, those willing to risk arrest broke into two groups, blocking the two entrances to the Wyatt.

My name is Katherine Bogan. I’m a second-generation Nazi fighter.

My grandfather survived the Holocaust. My great aunt survived the Holocaust. She was a victim of Dr Josef Mengele.

We are here continuing to fight for justice, and not only justice for the Jewish people, not only justice for the white people and the Ashkenazi, justice for the Sephardic, justice for the black and the brown, for the incarcerated, for the refugee, for the immigrant, for the homeless…

We are here to tell ICE: They need to cut their shit out.

We are here to tell ICE that we are here as resisters, we are here as [fellows?] in resistance and we are not going to leave, and we are not going to stop, until detention centers like Wyatt have been shut down. Until detention centers like Wyatt know that there are champions outside waiting to liberate folks who are undeserving of their cages and undeserving of their prison.

I am honored to be here. I want to lead us in song, if anyone is familiar with Hamilton and would like to come up and sing with me, you are invited.

Raise a glass to freedom
Something they can never take away
No matter what they tell you
Raise a glass to all of us
Tomorrow there’ll be more of us
Telling the story of tonight
They’ll tell the story of tonight

Raise a glass to freedom
Something they can never take away
No matter what they tell you
Raise a glass to the four of us
Tomorrow there’ll be more of us
Telling the story of tonight
We’ll tell the story of tonight…

An announcement for Lights for Liberty, and event happening next Friday evening at the Rhode Island State House.

Lilian Calderon, a Rhode Islander detained by ICE and separated from her husband and children, spoke to the crowd:

Representative Rebecca Kislak (Democrat, District 4, Providence):

Senator Gayle Goldin (Democrat, District 3, Providence):

Tal Frieden:

UpriseRI is entirely supported by donations and advertising. Every little bit helps:
Become a Patron!

About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.

Continue Reading