SALT LAKE CITY—A protester was slammed to the ground violently and suffered repeated blows to the back after three security officer subdued him at a demonstration against the TransPacific Partnership.
"We were there just to do a very peaceful protest against the TPP and this whole thing just took us completely by surprise and I was shocked," said an fellow demonstrator who witnessed the attack. "It was such a brutal response from these officers; so violent. It seems way overkill and uncalled for."
Lionel Trepanier, of Salt Lake City, had left a backpack on a table on the grounds of the Bennett Federal Building. After leaving the plaza for a moment around 3:15 pm, Trepanier reentered the plaza to grab his bag. An officer stopped him.
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"The [officer] approached very aggressively, and directed [Trepanier off of the plaza," the witness said. Trepanier insisted that he needed his property but the officer persisted.
"All the sudden that officer and another officer started to assault Lionel really violently. They manhandled him and wrestled him to the ground. His face was jammed into the cement. He was prostrate on the ground and immobilized—utterly no threat what so ever—and they started punching Lionel very aggressively … punching him in the back of the rib cage repeatedly."
Trepanier was handcuffed and despite having a bleeding wound on his forehead, he had to yell to his fellow activists on the sidewalk to request medical services. Trepanier never lost consciousness. He was taken to LDS Hospital emergency room after medical personnel arrived.
Below is the demonstrators’ press release, which announced their intentions to deliver a letter of protest to Sen. Orrin Hatch opposing so-called “fast track” for the TransPacific Parternship treaty.
In violation of federal law, a fourth security officer demanded that witnesses stop photographing the incident. Witnesses were told they were not allowed to photograph the federal building, but it was clear to everyone that they were trying to squelch journalistic documentation of the assault.
Activists Protest Senator Orrin Hatch’s Promotion of ‘Fast-Track’ Trade Authority as Part of a Continent-Wide Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership
More than 40 cities say No More NAFTAs!
On Friday, January 31st, Salt Lake City activists will join in solidarity with more than 40 communities across North America and the world participating in an Intercontinental Day of Action against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and fast-track legislation that would rush the deal through Congress without any debate.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch recently introduced the so-called Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, which would grant the White House ‘fast-track’ authority which “strips power to influence the terms of trade agreements away from the public and our elected representatives, while maintaining and amplifying the influence of large corporate interests.
At 3:00 pm on Friday, January 31st, activists with SLC-Stop-TPP and the TPP Welcoming Committee will conduct a Crime Scene Investigation at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, 125 S. State Street, Salt Lake City, issuing Senator Hatch a ‘Citizen’s Indictment’ for subversion and corruption of democracy to the interests of transnational corporations. The indictment will order the Senator to ‘cease and desist’ from his advocacy of both fast-track trade promotion authority and the TPP itself.
Furthermore, Senator Hatch will be ordered to release the full text of the TPP for full citizen scrutiny and democratic deliberation.
SLC-Stop-TPP participant Jon Jensen stated: “By pushing to ‘fast-track’ approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Senator Orrin Hatch is subordinating democracy to the interests of the transnational corporations that will benefit from the treaty. Sen. Hatch regularly defends his support of free-trade agreements like NAFTA and now TPP on the argument that they ‘create jobs.’ In fact, the empirical data show just the opposite. According to a new report by Public Citizen, NAFTA has actually destroyed millions of livelihoods in both the U.S. and Mexico, while contributing to historic levels of inequality and corporate wealth concentration. The TPP is modeled on NAFTA, but much more expansive, thus threatening even more disastrous results. Orrin Hatch’s main argument in defense of corporate free-trade deals is dead wrong: they don’t ‘create jobs’, but destroy them.”
January 2014 marks the twenty-year anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a pact that has had devastating consequences for working families, small farmers, indigenous peoples, small business and the environment in all three countries. NAFTA’s extreme investor “rights” chapter has set a dangerous precedent in international relations by allowing corporations to sue governments for public policies they don’t like.
The pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) expands this pro-corporate regime across this hemisphere and the Pacific Ocean.
- Leaked texts prove the TPP is another corporate bill of rights that threatens to:
- Destroy livelihoods and accelerate the global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions
- Further commodify agriculture, trample food sovereignty, hurt small farmers and contribute to forced migration
- Enable new corporate attacks on democratically-enacted environmental and consumer protections
- Undermine global economic stability by prohibiting effective regulation of financial markets
- Reduce access to life-saving generic medications, increase the costs of prescriptions, and restrict freedom on the Internet
Explaining why it has organized Friday’s day of action, the Trade Justice Network declared: “We’re here to acknowledge the harm that NAFTA has already caused North American communities, and to resist the new threats that the TPP poses. In the past, people coming together like this across geographic borders have defeated similar corporate power grabs. The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), the Millennial Round of the World Trade Organization, and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) all died when people stood up and said no. There’s no reason we can’t do it again with the TPP.”
Background on the TPP is available at: http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/TransPacificFactsheet.pdf
Details about ‘fast-track’ is available at: http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/FastTrackFactsheet.pdf
Public Citzen’s new report, ‘NAFTA at 20’, on the disastrous record of NAFTA is at: http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTA-at-20.pdf
For more info about the day of action, email January31@citizenstrade.org
For a list of events happening across North America: http://www.tinyurl.com/tradejustice
For information about the SLC action, contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-201-1526
Members of SLC-Stop-TPP wil be availalbe for direct press contact on site at the Federal Building at 3:00 pm before going inside to issue Sen. Hatch the ‘Citizen’s Indictment.’