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Long Beach May Day

by Orange Crush Thursday, May. 03, 2001 at 12:16 AM
bobfett33@aol.com (714) 516-5032

Everything started ok in Long Beach. But, I was dreading that everything would deteriorate rapidly. It did.

Well, we got the location off of the internet at about 10 AM, right when it was released. When we got to Long Beach, we had to drive around for a bit to find a good place to park. As we searched, we were dismayed by the fact that we saw no gathering. We were equally dismayed by the so-called a "warthog", which was basically an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) that looked like it was from the movie "Road Warrior". Fortunately, we never saw it during the demonstration.

We got to the Promenade, which was a sunken ampitheatre that had filled up with members of the black bloc. We were a little dismayed at this, because our group, which was from Orange County, and were the ones dressed in orange bandanas and with the orange flag, were not black blockers, and wanted some other activists to be there!

It seemed pretty boring at first, with the black bloc just huddling together, but I knew that the police would go apeshit as soon as the black bloc mobilized.

Half a block down, a car full of "suspicious-looking" kids got pulled over, and this may have been the event that sparked the bloc into marching.

The bloc began their march down the middle of (I think it was) First Street. The police blocked them off at the intersection, so the bloc turned around. This time, however, the police were forced to retreat, walking backwards. The cops eventually held their ground, and the bloc held their ground right in front of them. The bloc had a big banner they were carrying, and a few cops struck the banner with their riot batons, which could have really started things badly, but a higher-ranking cop told them all to retreat.

So, the march continued, and went around a corner towards the beach and towards the Long Beach performing arts center (right next to the aquarium). Our "Orange Bloc" had been hanging back, because it had consensed to not break the law, including not jaywalking (or marching without a permit). The march continued, and the bloc moved around another corner. They were being boxed in by 200-300 cops (definately more cops than protesters).

The Orange Bloc zipped over to another block to see what was happening. We, along with a few other activists and some bystanders were kept a certain distance away by a cop, but we could see everything.

Suddenly, there were a series of rapid, loud popping noises, the sound of cops firing their less-lethal shotguns at protestors.

I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the bloc was either forced into or retreated into a small resturant on the bottom floor of a retirement center. They were packed in there, and pressed up against the glass front of the store. This standoff lasted for about a half of an hour, and ended up with pretty much every single member of the bloc and some other protesters getting arrested. They were taken to Long Beach jail, which we tried to go to, but found that the cops were merely filming people for profiles, and threatening to arrest anyone who came near the jail (even though there were about 10 scattered protesters trying to go there, not a big group). So, we decided to not get arrested, and instead tried to go to the library. It was closed, but we were cornered in a plaza by some cops. They took away my flagpole, calling it a "weapon", and then gave me a false badge number.

The cop gave me his real name, at least what was on his badge, which was G.I. Carroll, but he said his number was #5525, even though his badge said #6315. Well, we'll see. I'm going to call in to complain, and to try to get my flagpole back, even though it was just a piece of wood.

I hope those people get out of jail soon!

-Orange Bloc

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boy did that suck... julia Sunday, Jun. 17, 2001 at 2:20 AM
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