Miami Medics And Clinicians Press Release Liz

Miami, Nov 21, 2003 — As Jeremy mentioned, we had many more injuries later yesterday, including several projectile (rubber and plastic bullet) injuries.

The clinic was also pepper sprayed by the police, although not "raided" per se as per rumor.

Attached is the press release we wrote this morning. Hopefully you can open this, since due to technical limitations here, I only have a word version, not text. Maybe someone can open the attachment and post a text version? Anyway, please forward to any media you think may be interested.


Contact: Liz Highleyman, [phone number redacted]

November 21, 2003 (Miami). The street medic and clinician team providing medical support in conjunction with the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protests decried the violent police tactics employed Thursday, November 20, 2003.

Street medics covering protests on Biscayne Boulevard near Flagler and elsewhere downtown assisted numerous injured activists. Hundreds were decontaminated and treated for the effects of pepper spray or tear gas, either on the streets or at the Wellness Center. Many others were treated for injuries caused by police baton blows or fired projectiles, including rubber and plastic bullets and chemical-filled pellets.

"I have worked in the emergency room and seen some horrible injuries," said Eowyn Rieke, MD, a street medic and family practitioner from Boston working in the Wellness Center yesterday. "These injuries were among the worst I've ever seen."

Street medics often found it difficult to provide care on the spot due to aggressive police tactics. "Every time we tried to stop and treat someone, we were overrun by police," said Rob, an EMT from New York City. "Basically, we were picking up the walking wounded and trying to get them to a safe space." Several medics reported being shot at as they tried to assist injured activists.

Clinicians staffing the Wellness Center treated an estimated 30 projectile injuries, including five to the face or head. Several protesters received stitches for lacerations. One activist sustained an open fracture to the forearm while trying to protect their face, while others sustained foot or ankle injuries. Some of the more seriously injured protesters were treated by Miami Emergency Medical Services or at area hospitals. Because many affected activists were not seen at the Wellness Center, clinicians were unable to give a total count of the number of injuries.

The activist medic and clinician team expressed particular concern about the tactics of police outside the Wellness Center late Thursday afternoon. While pushing a group of protesters up the street past the building, an officer fired a pepper spray gun directly through the door of the Wellness Center, where injured protesters were being treated, and a woman providing security at the center was pepper sprayed directly in the face.

"The police showed a total disregard for the health care space and the safety and wellbeing of our patients," said Rieke.

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