After a large peaceful march of tens of thousands of people up broadway, and peaceful march of thousands down vermont to the various MIWON actions, over 10,000 immigrant workers and families congregated in macarthur park in downtown LA to listen to speakers, music, dance, and celebrate mayday.
The air was festive as speakers alternated with musicians. Tom Morello (the Nightwatchman) from Rage Against the Machine, as well as live punky reggae jungle act Fosforo were among the musicians playing from the MIWON sound truck.
At some point (around 6? not sure of the time), while Fosforo was playing our second song (a Spanish language version of Bob Marley's War), I looked up to see thousands of people running en masse from the other end of the park.
A wall of riot police marched through the park behind them, shooting rubber bullets as 2 helicopters swooped over the crowd hovering like mechanical vultures.
Off to my left, a small crew of anarchopunks in black with black and red flags made a halfhearted attempt to build a barricade near the sound truck but soon abandoned it and ran away.
Everyone left but me and two sound guys on the truck. We hid behind speakers and i shot everything as the police advanced through the park clearing everyone out. I was stuck in the park for an hour while the police blocked it off.
Later i went out and went to the police press conference on the corner of the park. The police kept the press waiting for 45 minutes to an hour as they tried to figure out just how to spin things.
The police chief claimed that 'a small number of individuals' provoked the police to act as they did, then pretty much said nothing else. He kept repeating that he would need to review the videos before he could say anything about whether the police 'response' had been 'appropriate.'
Later I heard that 8 police on motorbikes drove into a crowd, and that the police beat several journalists. Also, apparently they hurt some legal observers.
My theory is this: after last year's marches, and after seeing that this year, although much smaller, there were still 10s of thousands of people marching, they decided to scare the shit out of people especially undocumented immigrants. They are hoping that this will crush the whole movement and scare people away from participating any more ...
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