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Orange County Taco Bell Protest Report

by leftist latino Monday, Dec. 03, 2001 at 4:54 PM
ronmaydon@yahoo.com

Over 100 demonstrators in Santa Ana demand justice for Taco Bell's exploited tomato pickers in Florida

SANTA ANA--Over 100 people showed up this Saturday on the Taco Bell of the corner of Bristol and Segerstrom in Santa Ana demanding justice for Taco Bell's exploited tomato pickers in Florida. This was just one protest out of over 40 held nationwide Saturday as part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) 3 Days of Action, a precursor to the much-larger Truth Tour that was supposed be held in September but has been rescheduled for sometime in March.

The protest started at 11AM and from the beginning, there was a large contingent of mostly students but also members of Veterans for Peace and the OC Green Party. Other organizations that had a large presence was Santa Ana College's MEChA chapter, Santa Ana Food Not Bombs (which served delicious potatoes and rice tacos) and an Aztec dance troupe that performed around the four corners of Bristol and Segerstrom.

As the protest progressed, more and more people showed up with banners, noisemakers, and most importantly, the truth about Taco Bell's exploitative ways. We let pedestrians know about the sweatshop conditions in Florida's fields, Taco Bell's arrogance in dealing with migrant workers, and the bad gas that Taco Bell's chalupas create. The protest was officially scheduled to end at 2PM, but by the time this reporter left around 2:40, the protest was still going strong and people kept showing up.

One of the more amusing incidents occurred throughout the protest, as Taco Bell had not only one but TWO corporate officers keeping an eye out on everyone. In response to the national boycott, Taco Bell has issued a flyer to its customers stating that indeed, it is a active member of the community and cares deeply for everyone (except farmworkers, it seems). It was too hilarious to believe and when we're able to get a copy, we'll post it here.

The police presence was limited to one police officer who tried to limit what we could do. He said we could not pass out flyers, step on the street, use amplified voice...the usual suspects. This did not deter our enthusiasm nor our resolve in actually doing these things.

Many photos were taken and will be posted as soon as we develop them. In the meanwhile, join us as we plan further actions and our upcoming benefit show. We meet every Thursday in Santa Ana at 7pm at the SEIU office located on 1651 4th St. (on corner of 4th and Lyon), Suite #120.

---

We are a collective of OC organizers that is working with the various local organizations to carry out a national boycott against Taco Bell, owned by Tricon, the largest fast food system in the world. We are part of a grassroots movement working in solidarity with the farm workers directly exploited by Taco Bell, who have formed the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. We are demanding that Taco Bell pay one cent more per pound of tomatoes in order to double the salaries (currently at sub-poverty level) of workers in Immokalee, Florida.

For more information regarding the Taco Bell Boycott, contact the CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) website www.ciw-online.org or email tbboycott@yahoo.com

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