90-year-old Hedy Epstein arrested during Ferguson protest while demanding that Gov. Nixon de-escalate police militarization in Ferguson
by Sandra Tamari
St. Louis, Missouri – World-renowned Palestinian rights activist Hedy Epstein, who turned 90 last Friday, was arrested today with eight others outside the Wainwright State Building in downtown St. Louis as they called on Governor Jay Nixon to de-militarize the police presence in Ferguson. She was charged with “failure to disperse.” Last night, police used tear gas, mace, and rubber bullets against unarmed civilians in the ninth consecutive night of demonstrations in opposition to the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9th and the subsequent police military crackdown on the Ferguson population.
Hedy Epstein was born in Germany and lost her parents and other family in the Nazi Holocaust. When she was 14 years old, she was put on the Kindertransport to England and never saw her parents again. She served at the Nuremberg trials and is a veteran human rights and social justice activist. Epstein is famous worldwide for her outspoken criticism of Israel’s U.S.-sponsored occupation of Palestinian land and abuses of Palestinian human rights. She was a participant in the Gaza Freedom March in 2010 as well as the Audacity of Hope boat to break Israel’s siege of Gaza. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace.
The St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee stands in solidarity with the people of Ferguson as they struggle with other communities of color in the United States against police brutality and state violence. We deplore the ubiquitous distortions and misperceptions around the police occupation of Ferguson. The tactics used by the police against the people of Ferguson resemble the tactics used by military occupations across the globe including by Israel in Palestine; to name one example, the tear gas being fired at Ferguson protesters is the same brand used against nonviolent protesters in the West Bank. We are appalled by the dehumanization and demonization of Michael Brown by the police in an attempt to justify his murder.
Upon her release from police custody, Epstein stated: “My parents taught me to stand on the side of the oppressed. That is why I demand justice for Michael Brown and an end of the occupation of Ferguson. The police in Ferguson have escalated the situation and behaved like a military, rather than peacekeepers, which they are supposed to be. My work for freedom in Palestine has shown me that violence is the language of the weak and that the true heroes of our society are those who stand up to systems of racism and oppression every day. It is my hope that my arrest brings attention to the people most directly impacted by the brutality of the police in Ferguson and around the country.”
Epstein is available for interview.
See Also: Hedy Epstein Arrested: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know http://heavy.com/news/2014/08/holocaust-survivor-hedy-epstein-arrested-in-ferguson-missouri/