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to the freeways

by stan call Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2003 at 8:11 PM

When the time is right, we'll shut down the 405 freeway.

A brief report-back from the Westwood Federal Building last Friday:

I arrived at about 5 pm. People had already been demonstrating since the early afternoon. I found someone named Matt who was willing to hold a banner with me as we crossed Veteran and Wilshire in ever slower and larger circles, until we finally had the intersection totally blocked from around 6-7 pm.

By a little after 7, police used their batons and cars to force people back onto the sidewalks and began to rush at people, taking pokes at us aggressively. A standoff ensued for the next 40 minutes or so, during which I led chants of "peaceful protest, violent cops." This seemed to somewhat curb the violence of police, who were concious of the nearby news vans.

By about 7:45, a consensus emerged that we should all march a block west to Sepulveda, and we managed to break our standoff with police, who had the intersection thouroughly blocked-off for us, allowing an easy march down Wilshire to Sepulveda. We held this intersection for a shorter time, and then took off south down Sepulveda.

By this time, the crowd that marched was down to several hundred. We quickly shut-down a section of Sepulveda, and took a quick right turn just before Santa Monica Blvd. After leading the riot squad down this narrow street and under an overpass of the 405, we waited for less than a minute and quickly turned around, leaving police trapped behind a snarled mess of traffic.

As we took another turn down an even darker and quieter side-street, I conferred with a Russian comrade and we decided to try and take the march onto the 405 freeway. Police were nowhere in sight, and we ran up the onramp, but were only able to get about 20 people to come with us. So we gave-up and joined the rest of the crowd to march down to Santa Monica Blvd.

By about 8:15, marchers had partially shut-down Santa Monica Blvd.and most cars were making U-turns to find alternate routes. One angry, assumedly pro-war driver tried to drive through our march. The most fired-up of us did our best to block him, and the Russian man threw himself in front of the car and fell-down. The driver continued very slowly as protesters pounded on his windows to get him to stop. This was repeated two more times before police came and angrily ordered the driver to get the hell out of there and stop antagonizing protesters.

Soon we were being trapped and separated on two different corners. The original group had dwindled to no more than 150 or so. Gates into alleys were being shut and people were not being allowed to leave. I walked behind police, ran down an alley and found another protester who was also leaving to walk to the bus stop with me.

When the time is right, we will shut down the 405.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
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i am sooo down gustavo Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2003 at 8:25 PM
We're down for it ... Los Angeles Police Department Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2003 at 8:39 PM
Fed Up with the Right Wing The LAPD Sucks Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2003 at 8:46 PM
You're all a bunch of Assholes! me Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2003 at 9:05 PM
LOL LOL Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2003 at 9:26 PM

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