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(RNS) — A truck attempted to barrel through a group of Jewish protesters who were demonstrating outside a detention center in Rhode Island on Wednesday evening (Aug. 14) in an incident that left five people hospitalized and drew attention to Jewish criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
The demonstration, organized by the Jewish group Never Again Action, took place outside the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the center contracts with ICE to house migrants arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Organizers - People - Protest - Barricade - Entrance
Organizers say roughly 400 people gathered for the protest and at least 30 formed a human barricade blocking the entrance to the detention center.
Lex Rofeberg, a demonstrator who is studying to be a rabbi in the Jewish Renewal Movement, said protesters were singing and chanting when a truck pulled up at about 9:45 p.m.
Truck - Line - Protesters - Driver - Interest
“This truck came and turned directly into the line of protesters,” he said. The driver “showed no interest or regard for the people in front of it, and drove directly into people.”
Footage of the incident, which was shared widely on social media throughout the day on Thursday, showed the truck slamming to a halt just inches from demonstrators sitting on the ground. As people screamed and rushed toward the commotion, a few demonstrators stood in front of the truck, placing their hands on the bumper.
Then the driver accelerated again.
“My impression is that this was designed to intimidate, and violently,” said Rofeberg, who stood a few feet from the truck as it surged forward.
Video - Incident - Driver - Uniform - Feet
Another video of the incident shows the driver, who appears to be wearing a uniform, stopping after a few feet. He then sits quietly in the vehicle, staring straight ahead as incensed protesters surrounded the truck and began chanting.
They shouted: “Nazi! Nazi! You can’t hide! You support genocide!”
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