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Villaraigosa Shouted Down at Black History Event By L.A.'s Rising Homeless Protesters

by Unhoused Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 at 7:53 AM

LA CAN protest rocks "Black History Month" ceremony; in front of pop star Stevie Wonder, L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa drowned out by angry homeless advocates protesting racist police attacks against homeless blacks downtown.

 Villaraigosa Shoute...
villaraigosa.jpg, image/jpeg, 300x403

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, appearing at the Los Angeles City Hall’s lawn for a Black History month awards ceremony on Friday, February 9th --was shouted down for the second time in recent weeks by Skid Row protestors with the Los Angeles Community Action Network, LACAN. The shouting of “No justice no peace; stop racist police,” rang out; and entirely prevented Villaraigosa from being heard by onlookers –even as local television stations stood by, and attempted to film Villaraigosa without including the crowd of about 40 very fired-up demonstrators.

LA CAN is a grassroots Skid Row community group --and it’s own members are largely African American: although local community supporters of all races were part of this latest protest.

The demonstrators showed no fear of arrests, as the shouts continued throughout Villaraigosa's appearance, and guards attempted to push them back –and out of earshot.

Stated one member of LA CAN, before the protest, and when the program began with a request that all rise for a salute to the flag: “We all ought to be rising up soon, for some liberty and justice, all right.”

No arrests were made today, however.

The latest LA CAN protest follows weeks of Skid Row homeless, and their supporters, attending Police Commission hearings, City Council hearings, and official city functions --to denounce L.A.’s “Safer Cities Initiative” as racist, and as nothing more than a massive police riot under color of authority against downtown L.A.’s mostly poor African Americans. Since August, the "Safer Cities" police riot has resulted in over 4,000 police attacks against homeless people; and especially black people, spotted anywhere in downtown by LAPD; and also making it the largest attack against homeless people in L.A.’s history.

This is also, on top of the other, long-continuing, daily attacks for years now, by the downtown business’ private army: of homeless harassing security guards.

Villaraigosa, at his lately more rare appearances, on this Friday, was seen by hundreds, pretending to ignore the shouts which completely drowned him out; he was forced to deliver his speech without being heard by any of those assembled for the city’s opening of Black History Month.

Some in the crowd nodded their heads, as the shouting protest, heard only while Villaraigosa was attempting to speak, continued for about 20 minutes. Others, in the almost all African-American crowd, sat respectfully quiet: including nationally-famous pop star, Stevie Wonder, who was seated prominently in front, on a stage which was also holding Villaraigosa.

Wonder sat silently as the protests continued --and until they ended.

As soon as Villaraigosa ended speaking, the demonstrators respectfully stopped their shouting; to show their own respect for other aspects of the city’s public acknowlgement of February’s black history observances.

Weeks ago, both LAPD Chief William Bratton and the Mayor were also shouted down by LACAN’s protesters for the homeless at the ground-breaking ceremony for a new LAPD headquarters. And, recently, the Los Angeles Police Commission publicly acknowledged that because of the huge number of resident’s complaints now against police harassment of the homeless downtown --that public hearings at the police commission would occur before the month is out; including into public photos of one woman who, for no apparent provocation, was badly beaten; with police wielding batons in her own apartment; and that the Police Commission would also inquire into the fact that LAPD is increasingly attacking innocent homeless people on Skid Row in early morning hours, starting at 6:00 a.m.; and forcing them to walk around with no public place to legally lie down, or sit, each day now until 8:30 a.m..

Says activist David Busch, who is homeless: “It’s like the LAPD under Bratton is trying to make it Guantanamo downtown, for the homeless here now.”

Says Busch, “…and they, LAPD, are really getting away with it. Almost none of the media is covering the beatings, and the police attacks. They ignore the fact that hundreds of homeless people here are being beaten, arrested, framed, and complaining every day; and they only are reporting that ‘officials’ in other nearby cities are complaining about us coming there now.”

States Busch, “It’s all really being done by L.A.’s City Councilwoman Jan Perry --for Villaraigosa; and for the loft developers; and especially the Billionaire developer, Eli Broad, now; who wants to build this ‘Grand Avenue Project’ downtown. Perry wants all the people on Skid Row basically erased on their orders; and Villaraigosa will claim to have “cleaned up” downtown. On top of all this, they are even demanding 200 million in taxpayer subsidies for Broad now; to build his massive luxury compound for the rich downtown on top of that. These politics are just beyond disgusting.”

This week, also, an investigative report by the Los Angeles journal revealed that massive numbers of mostly African American drug users on Skid Row were being offered large sums of money, by undercover LAPD cops, to entrap them into giving these undercover cops small pieces of their own cocaine “rocks” –and that LAPD was doing this to demand State prison sentences for people on Skid Row who would normally have a right receive drug treatment instead of prison.

The activist group WorkingDemocracy!, organized by Busch, is into it’s fourth week of their weekly, Saturday, 1 p.m. protests against all this in front of Skid Row’s police headquarters at 6th and Wall. The group believes that if L.A. officials get away with these new attacks, that other cities will renew their criminalizing of the homeless nationwide; WorkingDemocracy! is calling for a citizen’s occupation of solidarity --on Skid Row sidewalks --to stop the city’s racist move to push blacks off of Skid Row.

(310) 883-3288!/skidrow.htm

LA CAN, open six days a week for community support, and with a free internet café, also holds weekly Thursday night organizing meetings for activists and others at its community center, located at 456 5th St.

(213) 228 -0028.

As it’s own current action, the WorkingDemocracy! group is also calling for a daily telephone barraging of Mayor Villaraigosa's office: and is asking as many people as possible, from all over the nation, to call every day (213) 978-0600 on behalf of all of homeless and demand:

1. Demand that Villaraigosa issue a public statement, and end the criminalization and attacks on downtown homeless people in L.A. now --demand he issue a statement putting an end to L.A.’s "Safer Cities Initiative" immediately.

2. Demand that the millions for “the Grand Avenue Project” go instead to NEW opportunities downtown for Skid Row's grassroots homeless to own it --and develop it --and not outside developers.

3. Demand an end to the police entrapment of mere drug users on Skid Row as "dealers;" people in need of effective treatment, services, and opportunities; and not State Prison!

Others can do a daily email to:


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by Unhoused Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 at 7:53 AM

perry.jpg, image/jpeg, 150x232

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by Unhoused Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 at 7:53 AM

bratton.jpg, image/jpeg, 75x113

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Skid Row --the street is only a small part

by Unhoused Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 at 7:53 AM

Skid Row --the stree...
skidrow.jpg, image/jpeg, 420x310

Over 4,000 homeless criminalized in the last 2 months. 9,000 of those on Skid Row live in transitional housing, and are constantly under survellance --and drug tested. LA Times paints Skid Row as all "crackheads" however --and ignores outrageous police attacks.

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