Storming the Gates

On 13 September, 1971, 43 people were killed when New York State Police stormed the Attica Correctional Facility.

The prison had been seized by prisoners on 9 September, when about half of the 2,200 inmates rioted, wrestled control away from the guards and issued a list of 28 demands. The demands were wide ranging, from the simple to the far reaching. #8 was the right to join or form a Labor Union.  #23 was that all prisoners be allowed to be present when their cells were searched and #26 was that drinking water be placed on mess hall tables at meal times.

The riot and siege gained world-wide attention. The prisoners were even recognized as a legitimate belligerent government by the socialist nation of Czechoslovakia.

Throughout the 1970’s the cry “Attica! Attica!” could often be heard in protests against police brutality.