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Arrests at New orleans City Council protest concerning housing demolition

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  • les evenchick
    Protests heat up as razing of New Orleans public housing nears 09:53 PM CST on Thursday, December 6, 2007 Cain Burdeau / Associated Press Protesters angry
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2007
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      Protests heat up as razing of New Orleans public
      housing nears

      09:53 PM CST on Thursday, December 6, 2007

      Cain Burdeau / Associated Press

      Protesters angry about the pending demolition of
      dozens of public housing buildings stormed a City
      Council meeting Thursday in a confrontation that ended
      with a prominent civil rights lawyer being hauled off
      in handcuffs.







      Thursday's fracas was a taste of what's likely to come
      in the ensuing weeks as former residents and advocates
      seek to stop the demolition of more than 4,000 public
      housing units at a time when New Orleans is in the
      midst of an acute housing shortage because of
      Hurricane Katrina.


      The protesters gathered at the City Council chambers
      to demand the council's members stop the demolitions.
      But when the council took no action, the protesters
      broke into chants and shouts and forced Arnie Fielkow,
      the council president, to call the session into
      recess.


      In the ensuing chaos, a civil sheriff's deputy grabbed
      and shoved civil rights lawyer Bill Quigley up against
      the wall where he was handcuffed. Quigley has led a
      legal fight against the demolitions. The deputy's
      report said Quigley allegedly refused to leave the
      premises and shouted "I'm not going anywhere."


      Quigley said he saw no reason for being detained and
      taken to a sheriff's trailer on the grounds of City
      Hall. He was released shortly afterward and cited with
      a charge of disturbing the peace.


      "We live in a system where if you cheer or chant in
      the City Council you get arrested but you can demolish
      4,500 people's apartments and everybody's supposed to
      go along with that? That's not going to happen,"
      Quigley said. "There's going to be a lot more
      disturbing the peace before this is all over, I'm
      afraid."


      There are few road blocks left to stop wrecking crews
      from taking down the public housing buildings. A
      federal judge has refused to stop the demolitions as
      have Congress and city officials. Demolitions could
      start as early as Dec. 15.


      The demolitions are part of a plan Alphonso Jackson,
      the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and
      Urban Development, pushed for after Katrina hit on
      Aug. 29, 2005. HUD's goal is a wholesale redevelopment
      of the city's public housing by tearing down the old
      barracks-style buildings and replacing them with
      mixed-income neighborhoods.


      To that end, HUD closed down most of the city's public
      developments after the storm, prompting residents and
      advocates to castigate HUD's plan as a callous attempt
      to expurgate poor blacks from New Orleans.


      The redevelopment plan has grown more emotional since
      it was unveiled in mid-2006 as tens of thousands of
      former residents and other poor residents found
      themselves unable to find housing in New Orleans
      because of a housing shortage and inflated rents.


      Critics of the plan say the redevelopment plan will
      drive poor people from neighborhoods where they have
      lived for generations, but HUD denies that and says
      the plan will create an equal amount of affordable
      housing as existed before Katrina hit.


      (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights
      Reserved.)


      Les Evenchick
      New Orleans
      piratefish@...
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