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Friday, May. 03, 2002 at 12:33 AM
A spirited crowd of youth, pacifists, anarchists, forced Loretta Sanchez to give her staff the afternoon off for May Day. Another victory for democracy!
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Loretta's office staff were not available for comment, because they'd been let go for the afternoon. There were rumors circulating that it was for International Workers' Day, but I got the impression that it was because of all the cops. Who can work with such an intimidating police presence?
There were also those noisy demonstators. Their demand: to get rid of the INS office in Orange County.
They're putting the "international" into International Workers' Day.
The protest drew together folks from diverse groups ranging from the Unitarian Universalists and MEChA, all the way to black block'd anarchists, pacifist anarchists, and punks. It wasn't a huge crowd, perhaps 50 at any one time, but they made a big noise with their drums, and the drivers going by honked in support.
Also present were the Garden Grove PD, who were looking spiffy, yet intimidating, in their black uniforms and crystal clear, as yet unused, face shields. I counted 30, but some of them seemed to be hiding in the shadows.
I heard another rumor that cops were taking special measures to protect Starbucks and Krispy Kreme at the mall across the street. My suburban instincts took over, and I strolled to the mall, like a pigeon back to his roost. I was not let down. The cops were there in force, with perhaps fifteen cops on bicycles, cars, and motorbikes. No cops on horses, but, that mall is quite large, just like everything in Orange County. Maybe the horse properties were on the other side. I thought there was a jurisdictional conflict, because the city police were circling in the parking lot, while mall security were clamping down in the shopping zones.
I asked a mall cop what the story was with the demonstrations across the street. He said that all the cops there were just doing "exercises". That didn't sound sincere to me. I suspected that this mall security officer was invoking the notorious "code of silence".
At the Starbucks, there were no cops, just fire fighters, hanging out. They must have been waiting for the fires to get started.
At the Krispy Kreme, there were no police, which was a surprise. Even more surprising, the counter person gave me a free donut, right out of the assembly line contraption. Do they want to encourage shifty eyed amateur journalists to make KK part of their regular beats? I'm willing! Just give me a discount on that expensive coffee.
The mall situation, with all the cops orbiting it, was getting a little strange. So, I returned, having witnessed the typical suburban retail panopticon, intesified a little bit..
Back at the office, the demo was still in full effect. An "old timer" (in her 30's) and a new kid in high school both noted that there's an increasing number of progressive political events going on in OC. The 911 Peace Coalition are out demonstrating every week; the Greens are active; and there's the new Anahuac center that helped organize this demo.
Things were looking up. I would have stayed, but I had to go to another event.
On the way out of town, I got lost searching for a strawberry field I spied from the freeway. The fruit pickers were still working on May Day, but I imagined that they, too, would like to see La Migra cut back on its operations as well.
PS - the other highlight of the day, was spotting a "Fashion Bug" outlet. Was Jean Teasdale, columnist for The Onion, and Fashion Bug employee, inside? Sounds like another chance for investigative journalism, johnk style! Viva Zapata!
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