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by Fred Alvarez
Thursday, Jun. 30, 2005 at 10:05 AM
A Street-Fighter Mentality on Illegal Immigration
By Fred Alvarez, Times Staff Writer
As the insults flew and the protest reached a boil, Joseph Turner couldn't help but smile.
The 29-year-old head of the upstart Save Our State organization had come to Baldwin Park to pick a fight over illegal immigration. He had led a band of like-minded souls into the heart of the city to protest public art they deemed "seditious and anti-American." Part of a monument at the Metrolink station is inscribed "It was better before they came," interpreted by some as a barb at whites who displaced California's Mexican residents in the 19th century.
hey got all of the fight they could handle. Hundreds of counter-protesters in the predominantly Latino city rose up to meet them, chanting "Go home, racists!" As news crews captured the clash, police in riot gear called for reinforcements.
The group's protests had drawn fire before, but nothing like what erupted last month in the working-class community.
"I couldn't have scripted it better," said Turner, a former stock trader who runs the anti-illegal immigration group from his Ventura home.
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