HOLLYWOOD, 11 February 2007--Yesterday at 10:45 a.m., ANSWER-LA led a small crew of fifteen, with banners, signs,
and a blaring loudspeaker packed in a shopping cart, south down Argyle and
across Hollywood Boulevard into a sea of forty minutemen. Half an hour
later, the minutemen, amassed from across southern California, retreated to join
their fellows on the southeast corner, pushed back by the growing crowd of
At an anti-minuteman protest last July 8 at the same location, the cops
cornered and beat ANSWER-LA members in yet another videotaped
LAPD brutality incident. In that instance, the cops decided not to press
charges. Today reporters at the march compared notes and came up with four or five
arrests, but only one was verifiable: a man carrying a concave foamboard sign
was deemed by the cops to be carrying a shield and, when he reappeared with the
sign, was hauled off. A second arrest was reported by the Los
Ultimately, about 120 protestors shouted down a nearly equal number of minutemen today on Hollywood
Boulevard. The minutemen, formerly über-patriots "defending"
the U.S. from an "invasion" of "illegal" workers, are now
attempting to bypass a jury trial and judicial appeals, demanding a
Congressional or Presidential pardon for two border patrol agents convicted for assault
with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm
in relation to a crime of violence, civil rights' violations, and obstruction of
Deprived of their key speaker, an agents's father-in-law stalled en
route by a blown tire, the
minutemen scrambled for alternates, who
were mostly drowned out by bullhorns, the loudspeaker, and the chants of angry
protestors. The minutemen cavalierly, and undeterred by the
cops, moved through the protesters' ranks, along with a bevy of
unidentified T-shirted young white men with close-cropped hair. The more notable
forced back into the street, and two were chased off when they tried to pose as
undercover cops. Angry shouting matches erupted, as the minutemen crossed
onto the sidewalk and the plaza behind it.
What could be heard was a speaker announcing that "the streets have been
taken over by Mexicans" and "Bush is a traitor." A bullhorn
declared, "Why does anyone allow you to walk these streets? You are
worthless. You are foolish." Later it blared "You are Hispanic
slaves of the King of Spain."
The Minutemen rallied under a billboard for The Naked Truck
and T-Bones, a commentary not lost on the protesters.
Meanwhile, the protesters continued confronting and pushing back the invading minutemen. At 11:45,
the Danza Cuautehmoc leader blew a conch shell to signal their arrival, and
began ritual dances that reached back to a time before the Conquest. At
12:20, the mintuemen began their march with a round of "The Star-Spangled
Yesterday's minuteman march was notable for their confusion, who have
been repeatedly thwarted in their efforts to demand patriotic xenophobia from
the ruling elite, but today appeared with far fewer flags and flag-emblazoned
clothing than at their previous events. Frustrated at President Bush's
support for a bracero-style guest worker program, Congress's refusal to pass the
onerous Sensenbrenner HR4437 immigration reform bill after mass demonstrations
last spring, and now the judiciary's insistence that migrants have human rights,
the minutemen appeared rudderless.
A red, white, and blue
Torino without a passenger led the march, perhaps intended for the
missing speaker. Protesters filled the south sidewalk, continuing their
chanting and bullhorning, and talking to curious passersby. When the
minutemen reached the Chinese
Theatre, several took turns posing for photographs with the costumed
characters before the procession U-turned and returned along the same
Czajkowski, one of the leaders of the San Diego Minutemen who
last weekend tried to hold a San Diego cop under citizen's arrest, today walked
among the slow-moving police vehicles, stuck her head in each, and demanded they
enforce her citizen's arrest against several women who had moved her off the
sidewalk when she forced herself into their group. One policemen,
shrugging her off, asked, "What did you expect?" Ted Hayes,
leader of the Crispus Attucks Brigade of the minutemen but best known for his work
for the homeless, skipped a
major homeless protest against city sweeps to stand with the minutemen.
Organizing group Save Our State leaders Joe Turner and Don Silva straggled along at the end of the march while Jim Gilchrist of
a sometimes competing group, the Minuteman Project, strode in the front ranks.
Whatever the local nightly news reported, the pedestrians and shopkeepers
along Hollywood Boulevard missed the minuteman's message. One shopkeeper
shouted, "Why can't you march on Sunday? You're ruining my
business!" When asked what the march was about, a young white
employee said, "Illegals want freedom and American's don't want to give it
to them." A Black guy in a wheelchair, when asked who were marching,
answered, "Racists. Yeah, racists walking down the street."
Another shopper said, "They want to shoot all the illegal
immigrants." Still another, an Asian woman, said, "They want to
get some guy out of prison." What's this about? "Some guys
pretending to be police shot an immigrant, and they want to get him out of
prison," another pedestrian explained.
The story is that border patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos were
convicted by a Texas jury after a border incident in which they called on a guy
driving a van to stop. After a brief foot pursuit he surrendered, hands in the air.
One of the agents began to hit him with the butt of his rifle, but the agent slipped, and the
suspect took off. The agents fired off fifteen rounds, striking him once.
Then the agents scooped up as many shells as they could find, sent another agent back to
recover and dispose of the rest, and failed to file a report on the shooting. Only after the pursuit and shooting did
the Border Patrol confirm that the guy
had expired papers and was hauling pot. The minutemen were also
championing Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez of Edwards County, Texas, who was
convicted of shooting at a fleeing vehicle and injuring a migrant in the
Heated verbal exchanges between the minutemen behind the wrought iron fence
of their parking lot and the protesters on the sidewalk continued until 2:30
p.m., when the LAPD urged the minutemen to leave.