Update: In a statement on Thursday morning, Rhode Island’s attorney general announced that his office, along with Rhode Island state police, would investigate the events at the Wyatt facility on Wednesday night.
A truck rammed into a crowd of Jewish protesters in Rhode Island Wednesday night, injuring several people who were protesting an ICE detention center. Hundreds of people participated in the protest organized by Never Again Action, a coalition of activists who have organized dozens of protests against ICE in recent weeks. Several were injured and one person was taken to the hospital, according to organizers.
Organizers of the protest said the driver was a correctional officer at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
“It was really chaotic, really scary. People were really confused about what was happening,” said Gemma Sack, one of the protesters who saw the truck hit the protesters.
“This is why we’re here,” said Aaron Regunberg, a former Rhode Island state representative who participated in the protest, in a media advisory. “If they’ll use this kind of violence on us, think about what the defenseless detainees inside are subjected to every day.”
A video of the protest posted to Twitter at 9:51 pm shows a pickup truck driving into a crowd of protesters. The protesters had formed a line with linked arms to block an intersection when the truck drove through. The video is punctuated by screams as the truck drives into the crowd and protesters begin chanting, “The whole world is watching.” Organizers said that several other correctional officers sprayed protesters with pepper spray after the truck rammed into protesters.
Hundreds of protesters have been arrested this summer in Never Again Action protests intended to disrupt activities at ICE detention facilities and other locations affiliated with ICE. This incident comes just two days after the anniversary of the death of Heather Heyer, an activist who was killed by a driver while protesting a right-wing demonstration in Charlottesville in 2017.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened because up until then, our protest had been completely peaceful,” said Amy Anthony, an organizer with Never Again Action in Providence. “We are concerned about people’s safety but we are not going to let this stop us from taking action against ICE. This is not going to deter us.”
Oh my god. An ICE Detention Center guard just drove their truck straight through a line of us sitting peacefully to block the parking lot. There don’t appear to be major injuries, still assessing the situation, police are moving in *on us* now