On May 1, 2017, close to 800 union members, community people, families, activists, and students marched through the streets of Riverside to commemorate May Day. The march started at Fairmount Park around 11am stopping at City Hall and then in front of the Riverside County Jail. The march’s organizers stated that one of the purposes of the march was to send a message to the City of Riverside that they were serious about a campaign to make Riverside a sanctuary city. The march started with speakers at Fairmount Park. The march stopped at Riverside City Hall to demand that the city become a sanctuary city. The most powerful stop was in front of the Riverside county jail. Families of the prisoners on hunger strike spoke and it was an impactful act of solidarity for the prisoners. The march ended in front of the downtown public library where some people were waiting for the marchers with water and other groups were selling traditional Mexican clothes to fundraise for the families of the students murdered in Ayotzinapa. At the end of the march more people spoke.
The march was unlike other May Day marches in Riverside. Although there was more people marching than in years past- the organizers of the march kept tight security and even had police liaisons. The march was mostly kept on the sidewalk despite efforts of people to take over the streets. At a certain point the people doing “security” for the march physically impeded people from going into the street. The security people argued that they did not want to place people at risk of being arrested for taking over the streets – unironically perhaps people were chanting “who’s streets? Our streets!” even though the march continued on the sidewalk. It is unacceptable that the organizers of the march collaborated with police and had police liaisons – this an issue that is becoming a norm as detailed in this L.A. Times article (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-may-day-protests-20170501-story.html) A march is supposed to be a form of protest and to collaborate with the police goes against any principles of protesting. The argument of that “security” personnel make, that they do not want to risk people getting arrested is denying those individuals of agency and choice. It is not the function of the “security” of the march to dictate and police how people protests; instead the “security,” if necessary at all, ought to be in dealing with the police attempts to arrest the protestors.