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Two arrested at courthouse eviction protest in Providence



Collecting rent during a pandemic is extortion,” said a protester. “Eviction during a pandemic is genocide. Knock it off!

Police arrested two people at the Garrahy Judicial Complex this morning in Providence. One of those arrested was school teacher Nika Salazar, the other was a 15-year old child.

The arrests were made as protesters representing several groups rallied and blocked the doors of the complex to protest the ongoing and escalating eviction crisis in Rhode Island.

Will James of UpriseRI was on hand with a live feed of the action.

“Collecting rent during a pandemic is extortion,” said a protester. “Eviction during a pandemic is genocide. Knock it off!”

More police officers arrived after a few minutes and six of them grappled the 15-year old and took him inside the complex. Simultaneously Nika Salazar was placed under arrest and marched to a police car.

“I am a public school teacher who is just trying to fight for people’s rights,” said Salazar as the police took her away. Salazar has also been a strong voice for safety and equity in schools during the pandemic.

Immediately after the action a call was put out on social media for people to call and demand the release of those arrested.

The Aspen Institute estimates that 44,000-62,000 Rhode Island households, meaning 100,000-142,000 individual Rhode Islanders, “could be at risk of eviction in the next several months.” That’s between 28% and 42% of Rhode Island’s population. And nationwide, the numbers are similar.

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Here’s the full livestream:

About the Author

Freelance Journalist and Visual Artist, and Video Producer for Uprise RI. If you would like to support my work directly my username on CashApp, Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal is "willconns".

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.