For Immediate Release – July 8th, 2011
Hunger Strike Supporters Rally as Part of International Day of Solidarity
Supporters Demand CDCR Negotiate, Thousands of Prisoners Continue to Strike, Numbers Growing
Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
Office: 510 444 0484
Cell: 510 517 6612
What: Rally to Support the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike
When: Saturday, July 9th 11am-1pm
Where: UN Plaza, San Francisco
Oakland – Supporters of prisoners on hunger strike at Pelican Bay State Prison will rally at the Civic Center United Nations Plaza in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, July 9th at 11am. The action is part of an International Day of Solidarity with the hunger strikers. Events will also be taking place in Seattle, New York, Montreal and Toronto.
The hunger strike has continued to grow since beginning on July 1st, involving thousands of prisoners throughout a third of the state’s 33 prisons. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says over 2000 prisoners continue to strike, but the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition says that CDCR numbers are low and the strike is growing. “This might be the biggest prisoner strike on record in California.” says Ron Ahnen of California Prison Focus, a member of the solidarity coalition. “So many prisoners taking such an extreme measure as a hunger strike not only shows that conditions are deplorable, but is also a huge blow to the already embattled California prison system.” Prisoners have reported that medications, including those for high blood pressure and other serious conditions, are being withheld from prisoners on strike. Medical neglect was a central issue of the recent Supreme Court ruling requiring California to take immediate steps to reduce its overcrowded prison system.
Rally organizers are urging people to call the CDCR, as well as to pressure local and state politicians to demand that CDCR negotiate with strike leaders. Lawyers who met with CDCR on Thursday report that officials are refusing to negotiate with the prisoners around any of their demands. “The refusal of CDCR to negotiate with the prisoners provides a clear indication of where they stand,” says Taeva Shefler of Prison Activist Resource Center, another member of the solidarity coalition planning Saturday’s rally. Shefler continues, “They are willing to continue to allow prisoners to jeopardize their health and safety rather than sit at the same table and talk.” The prisoners on indefinite strike at Pelican Bay have said that they will continue to refuse food until their demands are met.
Supporters outside of prison, including family members of those held at Pelican Bay, will continue to hold rallies and other events in the coming weeks. For information on upcoming events, visit www.prisonerhungerstikesolidarity.wordpress.com