At 5:45 today 250 critical mass riders met at the corner of Flower and 5th in the heart of downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the bicycle as a means of alternative transportation. Bikes not cars!! About 50 police on bicycles showed up right as the ride was about to begin. The police got off their bikes blocking the intersection but a group of cyclists took off straight south on Broadway. It appeared that the police had orders to take the intersection but they were confused when the ride started so quickly.
I took off at the head of the group of cyclists (in the first 50 or so) and we continued along no posted route, i.e. we made it up as we went along. We circled Pershing Square a couple times and it appeared the police had completely blocked off access to Pershing Square.
Then the LAPD bike cops decided to follow us along with several squad cars and at least 75 LAPD motorcyles in formation. We later started to go west out of the City past the 5 Freeway. Everything seemed calm and the police kept a distance at first. We then began to go back down Olympic towards the Staples Center and ended up cruising near Figueroa. We made a left before Figueroa and back north towards Pershing. The mass was still unscathed at this point as we rode back into the City.
About 10 minutes later when we got to 11th and Pico the police began to charge the cyclists.
The motorcycle cops came first from behind and flanked the critical massers. The motorcycle copss turned into the cyclists and were tagging, running into and running over bikes. At this point total chaos broke lose. Bicyclists were screaming, dropping their bikes and trying to get away. Also at this point a metrolink train boxed the cyclists in. As the motocycle cops charged us, more police also came from the rear. It appeared there was no way out. People practically had to ride into the train. POLICE GAVE NO WARNING. THEY JUST CHARGED US WITH NO THOUGHT FOR THE SAFETY OF THE CYCLISTS.
I was stopped momentarily by a cop on a motorcycle but was able to jump the curb onto the sidewalk and take off via the side streets zigzaging down alleyways and streets. When I was leaving I saw cyclists knocked off their bikes and pinned down by cops who were cuffing the massers with plastic handcuffs. I’m lucky to not be in jail right now.