5,000 march in L.A. to protest police riot
Demand legalization of undocumented
Some 5,000 marched in Los Angeles May 17 to MacArthur Park, site of a brutal cop attack on a May Day immigrant rights action. Sign says, They beat us. They united us!
BY NAOMI CRAINE
LOS ANGELES, May 17Some 5,000 people marched down Wilshire Boulevard to MacArthur Park here today in the first street protest since the May Day police riot. Among them were hundreds of workers who were in the park when the cops fired rubber bullets and used clubs to break up a peaceful rally demanding legalization of the undocumented and an end to raids and deportations.
Araceli, who asked to be identified only with her first name, told the Militant she came to demand justice. Not just for me, but for everyone who was hurt on May Day. She described how she was trampled while trying to find her son who had become separated from her in the crowd. The cops began pushing people and everyone was running. Thats when I fell. Two months pregnant, she went to the hospital later that night where she miscarried.
Oscar, who asked that his last name not be used, marched holding a sign that read: We came for a immigration reform. We did not come to fight or to be insulted by the authority! Like many at the protest, he did not support the immigration bill now before the U.S. Senate. It has so many conditionslearning English, thousands of dollars in finesthat it wont help most people, he said. You cant even live on minimum wage. How can you pay $5,000?
I came to protest because its important to get immigration reform, said Salvador Franco, an eyewitness to the police violence. I also want to protest the war in Iraq, which is a war against humanity.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and State Assembly Speaker Fabían Núñez, sought to mute the public outrage at the brutalization of protesters on May 1 by participating in todays march.
Police Chief William Bratton and dozens of cops on bicycles were waiting for the demonstrators to arrive at the park. Hundreds of cops on foot, bicycle, and motorcycle patrolled the 10-block route of the march. A flier distributed by the cops at the rally stated: The goal is to provide you with an atmosphere that is safe and in harmony with your right to free speech. We appreciate your cooperation in assisting our ability to ensure that you have a positive experience.
Some workers thought otherwise.
The weekend before the demonstration, this correspondent spoke to a worker at MacArthur Park who had suffered a knee injury in the May Day assault. Asked if he planned to join the May 17 protest, he said, Why? So the cops can beat me some more?
We are getting a real lesson in the role of the police, said Gerardo, a member of the Committee of Workers in Resistance who asked that his last name not be used. They are part of the state, and their job is to control the working class. On March 6, ICE broke into the Michael Bianco factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and seized the workers [see front page article]. On May 1, the L.A. cops broke up our demonstration. This is exactly what the dominant class wants them to do.
Arlene Rubinstein contributed to this article.
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