Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again: LA Cops Get Violent Against Peaceful Protest

Yesterday in Los Angeles, the May Day rally for immigration reform had been peaceful all day -- a blatant abuse of what the Constitution calls Freedom of Assembly and one which could not be allowed to continue.

And so, with their usual finesse and subtlety, the LAPD broke it up -- with a violent attack!

There's good video from the local FOX affiliate here:
LAPD Uses Force to Disperse Immigration Marchers
Thousands of people marched in Los Angeles Tuesday calling for immigration reform. The marches were peaceful until the evening, when the LAPD used force to disperse the crowd.
And here:
Raw Video: Police Move in on May Day Crowd
raw video from the scene as Los Angeles police officers move in on May Day marchers
And you might find this a bit predictable:
Bratton Responds to LAPD's Use of Force
LAPD Chief Bill Bratton stated that there will be an investigation into the LAPD's use of force during the immigration marches on Tuesday.
But there's more here:
Immigration March Protestors Standoff with Los Angeles Police,
An estimated 200,000 worker's rights marchers flooded the streets of downtown Los Angeles today. The march was peaceful for most of the day despite the constant undertow of tension present at this protest that was not present last year. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was more on its guard and protesters were more circumspect than last year. Tensions came to a head at McArthur Park at late evening where riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into an estimated 5,000 people and used batons on demonstrators.

"They just starting firing those rubber bullets and tear gas at the people. It was crazy," said A.G. a protester making his way out of McArthur Park at about 6:30 pm.

Police cleared the park declaring it an illegal assembly but came at loggerheads just outside the park with a small group of protesters who squared off with LAPD at the corner of 6th and Alvarado. Demonstrators taunted police with cuss-word names and wiggle-butt dances then threw a glass bottle, the reason for the first crackdown from the police inside the park. Protestors were on the north side of 6th street and the LAPD was on the south side while a police chopper flew low overhead shining its spotlight on the crowd.

After the glass bottle flew, the police line switched from a baton carrying front to a rubber bullet gun and tear gas front. Demonstrators taunted and carried on with the day's chant "Si, se puede!" (we can do it).

After the LAPD collapsed their line and gathered up traffic signs, the officers got in their vehicles and left. The demonstrators then charged across the street shouting "We won! We won!"
There's more on-the-ground reporting at this link, and updates will no doubt be available here, where the story is BREAKING!


How confusing! What does this all mean?

Some people will tell you it's too soon to say for sure. Hogwash. What this means was clear a long time before it happened. It's the result of a massive and systematic failure -- a failure of education above all.

That's some frightening, graphic, disturbing video. Defenseless people, assembling peacefully in the streets of a major American city and being oh-so-casual about it. Watch it again if you can stand to see them just walking along in their light blouses and short-sleeved shirts -- as if they were in a civilized country!

What has happened here? Why don't they know???