On Saturday, June 27th, there was a solidarity demo in Lakewood for Daniel Covarrubias, a 27 year old native man who was murdered by the police on April 21st. This is part of a continued campaign of violence and brutality waged by police all over the United Snakes against people of color. Daniel Covarrubias was unarmed at the time of the shooting, no weapon was ever seen or recovered though the police say otherwise to try and justify firing 8 shots at him, 5 hitting and killing him.
The solidarity demo was called by the Tacoma Action Collective, who have been actively organizing around Daniel Covarrubias since he was murdered. Around 50 people showed up for this, many with signs and banners, and the TAC were very well organized, all groups had a role and they had a plan for many situations, for instance, if the police were to show up they said to give them the run around by saying “Let me get someone else” and walking away. It’s also worth noting that people who showed up late were pulled to the side by the organizers and had the plan and tactics explained to them instead of just leaving them out to hang.
The plan was to blockade a major intersection leading to the freeway, this was chosen first and foremost to forcefully bring to attention, in a way that is near impossible to ignore, that the police are killing people of color in their city and it was not going to be tolerated, as well as, in the words of one of the organizers, to impede the smooth flow of Capitaism.
The demo started across the street from the Lakewood Police Station and from there we marched towards the intersection, taking up one lane while chanting things like “Fists Up! Fight Back!”. The march was really high spirited, people got along really well and shared water, oranges, power bars, and cups of ice with each other. At the back of the march we had two cars, acting as buffers, keeping the rear safe from angry drivers who might try to run us over as well as transporting bottles of water.
When we got to the intersection things got immediately intense. We were all instructed to link arms and as soon as we formed the chain someone on a motor cycle tried to get around us, he had a gun and his first reaction was to reach for it, he ended up getting through. We stood there for around 20 minutes chanting and two of the main organizers walked around to the cars that were backed up explaining what we were doing. Many of the people, after hearing what this was about, were supportive, and other people driving back would honk and raise their fists our their window. At one point a man tried to plow right through us, but a large group of us formed up and blocked him.
The man was getting very aggravated, as were many drivers and at this point the organizers instructed us to move out and we began marching back to where we started. We took up all the lanes this time, and a group of white, upper-middle class people in one vehicle got aggravated enough to physically attack one of the protesters through the window, which prompted most of the protesters to form up on the car, people broke up the car resulting in a smashed window and dents and someone pepper sprayed people in the back seat of the car in self defense. After that, the march continued on without incident, many more people drove by showing support.
It’s particularly important to note that while many of the aggravated drivers were calling 911, the police did not show up at any point during the protest, and the organizers explained that this seemed to be normal in Lakewood. It’s also good to mention that while many of the protesters had ideological differences, a diversity of tactics was respected and people were allowed to decide their level of intensity and conflict for themselves.
The march returned down the street from where it had started and dispersed there. As we were dispersing, we found fliers scattered around slandering Daniel Covarrubias, it was speculated that this was the work of the police. Whether or not that’s true, it shows that there are people who do not want to see justice done, and that we are going to have to intensify the struggle for justice for Daniel Covarrubias and for all people of color whom have been slain by the police.