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  • Will Van Spronsen was a self-employed carpenter and was also a folk singer.

    Will Van Spronsen was a self-employed carpenter and was also a folk singer. | Photo: Twitter

Published 15 July 2019

The killing occurred a few hours after a peaceful demonstration, as four police officers shot the 69-year-old campaigner in the head.

United States Anarchist and anti-fascist activist, Will Van Spronsen, was killed Saturday by the police in the state of Washington while trying to take direct action against a migration concentration camp, by setting up migrants deportation buses on fire. 

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The killing occurred a few hours after a peaceful demonstration against the migrants’ detention camp when four police officers shot the 69-year-old campaigner in the head. Van Spronsen is likely the first person to be killed trying to directly fight against detention facilities and to help migrants.

Anarchists from the U.S. and friends of Van Spronsen paid him tribute on Monday saying that the long-time activist was a kind and loving person as well as a militant devoted to his ideas, always fighting to help those who have no way to defend themselves or who are completely vulnerable in the face of State brutality.

They also stated not knowing what had exactly happened as the unique information they got were from the police which, they said is “notoriously corrupt and unreliable sources for such a narrative.”

“The story that we do have is that Will attempted to set fire to several vehicles, outbuildings and a propane tank outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma which houses hundreds of immigrants awaiting hearings or deportations,” adding that “he successfully set one vehicle on fire and then exchanged gunfire with Tacoma police officers who fatally shot him. He was pronounced dead on the scene.”

Another statement made by La Resistencia, a group led by undocumented migrants and U.S. citizens based in Tacoma and dedicated at fighting the detention and deportation of migrants, noted that “Van Spronsen actions sadly reflect the level of desperation people across this country feel about the government’s outrageous violence against immigrants, which includes the use of detention centers to cage migrants both currently living in the US and those seeking asylum.”

The private immigration prison run by GEO Group, a company specializing in privatized corrections and detention, on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is known for frequently falling short on human rights and has seen various protests demanding for its closure ​​​​.

The center, along with deporting migrants, also detains parents who have been separated from their children under Donald Trump’s migration policies.

“We are grief-stricken, inspired and enraged by what occurred early this morning. ICE imprisons, tortures and deports hundreds of thousands of people and the brutality and scale of their harm are only escalating. We need every form of resistance, solidarity, and passion to fight against ICE and the borders that they defend,” a statement from the U.S. anarchists read. 

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