1 p.m. press conference to be held at Berkeley's Alameda Superior Court at arraignment of 52 arrested during July 13 station lock-out
Representatives of the listening community and KPFA station staff will call on Alameda County's District Attorney to drop all charges against KPFA protesters at a press conference tomorrow. They will also call for Pacifica to join in that demand and withdraw any requests for prosecution it may have made.
"We call on the District Attorney of Alameda County to drop the costly persecution of the over 90 peaceful protesters who have been arrested in the course of the ongoing struggle to prevent the hijacking of KPFA, and to save community radio and free speech," said Van Jones, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
KPFA is a listener-sponsored station whose license is controlled by the Pacifica Foundation and whose listeners rallied by the thousands when Pacifica took over the station by force July 13. 85% of the foundation's revenues are listener donations from KPFA and its sister stations.
KPFA is now back on the air as staff and listeners continue to grapple with Pacifica's leaders, who engineered the station take-over. The foundation refuses to sign a written guarantee that KPFA will not be sold, its board is still unaccountable to the local communities that make up the five Pacifica stations, and the issue of censorship at other Pacifica stations has yet to be acknowledged or addressed. Mediation between KPFA and Pacifica continues.
A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday, August 10 at 1 p.m. in front of the Berkeley branch of the Alameda county Superior court house, 2120 Martin Luther King Jr., Way in Berkeley. Fifty-two people, arrested on July 13 protesting the Pacifica Foundation's use of armed guards to shut down KPFA, are scheduled for arraignment at 2:00 p.m.
Speakers will include KPFA news co-director Aileen Alfandery, Barbara Lubin, director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, and Global Exchange's Pam Montenaro.
"As a contribution to ending this crisis, Pacifica must join us in our call for the District Attorney to drop all outstanding charges against scores of people arrested during our community demonstrations," Lubin said.
KPFA supporters say Pacifica has proven itself unaccountable, punitive, and contemptuous of the community whose peaceful civil disobedience reclaimed the station.
"This is an opportunity for Pacifica to show its good faith and demonstrate its desire to end the crisis," said Riva Enteen of the National Lawyers' Guild. "The District Attorney must drop all charges. The real criminals are those whose attempted hijacking of KPFA we have, at least for the moment, prevented."
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