A protest outside a prison that works with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned chaotic after a truck drove into the crowd, and officers were forced to use pepper spray on demonstrators.
People affiliated with Never Again Action were protesting Wednesday night outside the Wyatt Detention Center, a privately run facility in Rhode Island that has a contract with ICE to hold illegal alien detainees. The prison, located about ten miles north of Providence, has been subjected to Never Again’s protests since July, according to the group’s Facebook page.
Never Again, a left-wing Jewish group, has likened the treatment of illegal immigrants in the U.S. to the life of Jews during Holocaust and their members have demanded the closure of ICE detention centers.
“Every time we ask ourselves would I have done something during the Holocaust? Would I have done something?” one of the protesters, Jack Silverman said to WLNE, a local Rhode Island news outlet. “I want to make sure that when I tell my grandkids, ‘This is what was happening in the United States,’ and they say, ‘Well what did you do?’ I need to say that I did these things, and this is how it helped. Because I wouldn’t be able to live with myself otherwise.”
While the demonstration was tame for most of the evening, tension began to escalate when protesters locked arms and sat on the ground, shutting down the main entrance to the prison. Later, the protesters began to block the driveway to the staff parking lot. A black pickup truck arrived sometime later, and the driver was eager to get through.
The truck swerved toward the crowd and then abruptly stopped, blowing its horn as people shouted back at the driver. Then the driver proceeded to drive into the crowd of people. The driver was reportedly a corrections officer working for the Rhode Island detention center.
BREAKING: Here is HD video of an ICE guard driving his truck into us as we sat peacefully blocking the Wyatt Detention Center.
We’re putting our bodies on the line because we see the camps and the roundups. We’ve learned from our ancestors: NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE. pic.twitter.com/KnOu5xoOEb
— ✡️ Never Again Action ✡️ (@NeverAgainActn) August 15, 2019
While no one was critically injured, the incident left the protesters in shock.
“It was terrifying because we didn’t know what exactly his intention was,” Never Again spokeswoman Amy Anthony said to the Washington Post. “It certainly appeared he was trying to hit us.”
Other corrections officers then rushed to the scene and attempted to disperse the crowd. After the protesters refused to move, pepper spray was used to keep them blocking the driveway.
“Correctional officers came out and physically pushed us out of the way and then pepper-sprayed us, which is burning my face right now,” protester Jared Goldstein said. Never Again now says its is exploring options for legal recourse over the incident.
Public protests against ICE and companies that work with the agency have increased in recent months. Nearly 100 people were arrested in New York City for a protest that booked a major roadway. The next day, protesters in Mississippi marched to demonstrate against recent illegal immigration raids.
Actions against ICE have even become violent. An FBI spokesman said there’s “no question” a shooting early Tuesday morning at a San Antonio ICE office was a targeted attack. Federal investigators are still trying to find the perpetrators.
A left-wing protester in Washington state was killed in July when trying to blow up an ICE facility. A manifesto written by the terrorist referred to immigration detention centers as “concentration camps.”
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