Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The man arrested at Friday’s protest of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s visit - The Washington Post

Protester arrested outside D.C. school is Afghan refugee - The Washington Post:

The man arrested at Friday’s protest of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s visit

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The man arrested at Friday’s protest of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s visit to a middle school has been identified as a 32-year-old who lives in Northwest Washington and faces charges of assault on a police officer and failure to obey a lawful order.
Bilal A. Askaryar has been freed from the D.C. jail and has a hearing scheduled March 17 on the misdemeanor charges. His family is from Afghanistan, and he and his parents fled the country in 1990 as the Taliban’s influence grew.
Askaryar said he was too afraid to talk publicly while facing criminal charges; his attorney did not return a call seeking comment. Askaryar’s father, who lives in San Francisco, confirmed his family background, which his son described in detail in a first-person essay for NPR in January.
His father, Homayon Askaryar, an engineer at a pharmaceutical company, said he was proud of his son but did not want to discuss the specifics of the case. He said his son “wants to protect education for the future kids. . . . Better education gives a better life.”
Askaryar was among several protesters who confronted DeVos, controversial for championing charter schools and taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools, outside Jefferson Middle School Academy. A small group forced her to retreat into a government vehicle as one protester shouted “Shame.”
D.C. police said that as DeVos was driven away from the blocked entrance, Askaryar and others blocked the driveway. Police said protesters were warned several times to allow the vehicle through. An arrest affidavit says Askaryar and others “got violent and started pushing and shoving the police officers.”
At one police, police said Askaryar said “no” to an officer’s request that he move. The affidavit says a police body camera captured him pushing a police sergeant and an officer. DeVos got into the school through a different entrance.
n his account for NPR, Askaryar describes his family’s escape, how his father hid money in clothing, and how “We weren’t looking for a better life, we were just looking for a life.” He told of the trip through India, Pakistan, China and then the United States, where he, his parents and Protester arrested outside D.C. school is Afghan refugee - The Washington Post:

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