On Monday August 17th five WRL members blockaded the entrance to Combined Systems International — the largest tear gas manufacturer in the U.S.
Our group successfully deterred a shipment from entering Combined Systems Inc. and had many meaningful conversations with neighbors and folks driving by. All five members of the blockade were arrested and kept overnight at Mercer County Jail, where they are still being held.
On Tuesday August 18th we found out: Those five people are now facing multiple charges each for their courageous action and bail has been set at $25,000 each. To get them out we need to cover 10% of bail, which amounts to $12,500 to get all five people released and home safely.
We are empowered by the messages of solidarity we received from folks locally in Jamestown, PA and across the U.S., particularly from cities that have been hard hit with tear gas. Expectedly, we also received many hateful comments implying threats to the lives of activists on the ground on Facebook. We expected this because the culture of militarism leads people to believe that violence is the solution to conflict, and that all conflict is a case of abuse that must be confronted with brute force. This is wrong.
As activists committed to revolutionary nonviolence, we believe in strategic confrontation of people, organizations, and systems that cause harm. After all the harm tear gas has caused on our streets, in prisons, at the U.S. border, and around the world, we need to confront those who manufacture this tool for repression.
On Wednesday August 19th, we’ve raised over $6,431 towards our goal of $12,500 to pay the bonds for the 5 activists arrested and held in Mercer County Jail for two days.
The good news today is that all five people who blockaded the entrance of tear gas manufacturer Combined Systems Inc. on Monday have been released. The reason we still need your help is because the money paid to release them came from people who were on-site at the action and are not in a position to donate their funds. We need to reimburse them immediately.
We have two obstacles against us: the first being that bail was set exorbitantly high, which is an effect of the repressive political climate we are living in, and the second being the pandemic. After being locked in the heat for 7-8 hours during the action we needed to get them out. And now we need you to make sure we can support them in the ways they need.
So many of us have faced the horrific effects and near-permanent presence of tear gas at protests in defense of Black lives over the past few months. These five activists took on great personal risk to push back against the industry and people that profit from making and selling this chemical weapon. Now they need our support.
Donate here: bit.ly/AbolishTearGasBailOut