MANU CHAO ‘ALTO ARIZONA’ PROTEST VIDEO
November 29, 2011. Phoenix, AZ
In September, Manu Chao ended his US tour with a ‘Festival de Resistencia’ free concert in Phoenix, Arizona, to protest against anti-immigrant policies that have made the state of Arizona a “capital of prejudice.” The free concert was held in collaboration with the National Day Labourer Organising Network (NDLON), whose ‘Alto Arizona’ campaign is part of an ongoing effort to bring visibility, recognition, dignity and healing to migrants who have been targets of hate in Arizona and around the world.
Last year, Arizona passed Senate Bill 1070, the beginning of a wave of the most anti-immigrant legislation the US has not seen in generations. The passage of SB 1070 Arizona dramatically expanded police powers to stop, question and detain individuals for not having proper identification, a move that encourages racial profiling and legitimizes intolerance.
NDLON is a national migrant worker organisation that has been seeking to bring relief to the state of Arizona and challenge the spread of Arizona-style laws to other states such as Georgia and Alabama. In Arizona, NDLON and local member organizations are asking the federal government to bring Maricopa County’s Sheriff Arpaio to justice by taking away his immigration law enforcement power and by concluding the three-year-old Department of Justice investigation into his civil rights abuses. The law is currently being blocked by a federal judge.
As the son of parents who fled Franco’s Spain, Chao can personally relate to the discrimination and displacement experienced under aggressive governance. “For the past year, we’ve carried the people of Arizona in our hearts as we witnessed them suffer under such ignorant laws” says Chao.
While in Arizona, Manu Chao visited the perimeter fence of the notorious jail facility known as ‘Tent City’, which was conceived by Sheriff Arpaio, and where inmates are forced to suffer degrading treatment and to endure the extreme temperature range of the desert by living outside in tents.
Manu Chao, along with bandmate Madjid Fahem, serenaded the walls of the jail with a heartfelt rendition of his song ‘Clandestino’. This version was captured on film by filmmaker Alex Rivera, whose work strives to draw attention to the Latin-American community in the US.
The footage was produced by the National Day Labourer Organising Network (NDLON) and can be seen on the ‘Alto Arizona’ site http://www.altoarizona.com