On July 31, 2000, in light of planned demonstrations for the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, police raided the warehouse where activists were preparing signs and puppets, destroyed personal property and arrested 70. These illegal acts continued for the duration of the protests with police arresting anyone who looked like they intended to participate. Many protesters were beaten and wounded. In keeping with a too common police practice, most injured protesters were charged with assaulting the police while the opposite was true. One man had to have his ear stitched back onto his head. In jails, people were kept in severely overcrowded cells without basic necessities; medication was denied to diabetic and HIV positive prisoners; and many prisoners were further physically abused.
Camilo Viveiros was one of these hundreds arrested and treated brutally over those days of the Convention, but he had the misfortune of being charged with assaulting the top Philly cop: Police Commissioner Timoney. Those who know Camilo, a long-time regional organizer in southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod for the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, believe that it is unlikely that he committed any such assault.
Statement From Boston Friends Of Camilo
It has been just over three years since the massive arrests and civil liberties violations at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. After being beaten by police, Camilo Viveiros, a dedicated community organizer and housing advocate, was charged with several misdemeanors and felonies that carry a potential sentence of up to 30 years in jail! Most of the other 400 protesters’ cases have been dismissed; Camilo’s case is one of the only three still remaining.
Camilo’s case was recently transferred to a new judge, Judge William Mazzola. As a result, the October 27th trial date was changed to a scheduling conference in order to integrate Camilo’s case into the new judge’s calendar. It could be that the trial will only be delayed a few weeks, so we can not stop organizing. In fact, a few weeks might be crucial in getting more Philadelphia organizations on board supporting Camilo…we just need to approach them!
We must remain committed for the long haul and not allow prolonged postponements to diffuse our support. We should use additional time to build community and apply political pressure to ensure justice. Support letters from Philadelphia or national organizations are extremely useful for this. Also, a petetion is available for downloading from the website ( www.friendsofcamilo.org ), which can be taken to events and meetings to collect signatures.
Check friendsofcamilo.org for the new trial date and pass on this list of Things You Can Do to Help Camilo.
Things You Can Do To Support Camilo
1. Write a letter of support! Letters from individuals are important, and letters from organizations-community groups, tenant associations, union, religious congregations, etc. are powerful in demonstrating broad based concern. Letters are vitally important for convincing the judge of Camilo’s character, and for showing how much damage it would do to the community if he were imprisoned. Letter writing guidelines and sample letters can be found on the website. Please make two copies of the letter, one addressed to the “Honorable Judge Mazzola” and one addressed to “To Whom it May Concern” and send both copies to:
Friends of Camilo, P.O. Box 23169, Providence, RI 02903
2. Contact friends, associates or organizational affiliates and urge them to write letters as well, particularly those in Philadelphia, to help build pressure where it is needed most. National groups are also important.
3. Publicize information about Camilo’s case in your internal publications like newsletters, mailings, listservs or websites.
4. Download flyers and information packets from the website and distribute them.
5. Ask local organizations to distribute flyers.
6. Download the petition and get signatures.
7. Table at local events with literature and the petition.
8. Make an announcement about Camilo’s case at a meeting or public gathering.
9. Refer organizational or individual contacts to Boston Friends of Camilo.
10. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to spread the word about Camilo’s case in your community.
11. Make a donation to help with legal fees (checks or money order can be made out to : Friends Of Camilo, P.O. Box 23169, Providence, RI 02903.
12. Pass the hat, take up collection.
13. Have a Camilo fundraiser/outreach event such as a cafe, music event or lecture.
14. Offer to donate your skills (artistic, writing, music, research, data entry, outreach, phone banking)
15. Plan to attend a solidarity event the first day of the trial.
16. Spread the word!