Maintaining solidarity after the protests: Lessons from 2000

As the RNC draws near, this article looks at a few of the lessons learned over the 3.5-year solidarity campaign to support Camilo Viveiros, who was ultimately acquitted this Spring for charges stemming from the protests outside the RNC in 2000 in Philadelphia. A ocal tenant organizer, Camilo Viveiros, along with fellow demonstrators Darby Landy and Eric Steinberg, had stood accused of assaulting police officers, including then-Philadelphia Police Chief John Timoney, during demonstrations which saw over 400 people arrested. The cases against nearly all other defendants had crumbled long before, leaving these defendants, dubbed the “Timoney Three,” as the scapegoats on whose backs the city could try to prove that its repressive police actions were justified. Over the three and a half years between the RNC and the acquittals, Camilo's allies built a strong campaign to build support for him while also raising larger issues of injustice and repression. The support of community leaders and organizations helped supporters to cultivate favorable media coverage leading up to the case which reached a wide range of decision-makers, including the trial judge. This article is not a full accounting of those efforts. Instead, as the 2004 conventions grown near in an even more security-obsessed atmosphere, it is an attempt to identify some lessons which might be applicable now.

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