This is the third May 1 since I’ve been living in Los Angeles. There is no day that has been more memorable, scary, or incredible in my LA experience than the past two May Firsts. May 1, 2006 had tremendous build-up, with some of the largest immigration rallies preceding it and it exceeded all expectations. Half a million people rallied and it made headlines around the world. More importantly, the local media began stepping up it’s coverage of immigrant issues as they affect every day life and commerce in Southern California. May 1, 2007 made headlines for different reasons, LAPD overreacted at MacArthur Park where rallies were taking place and many were injured by rubber bullets. It was horrible and a total embarrassment for the city and just an utter disgrace. Here’s hoping for a safe, memorable, and spirited May Day 2008 and a salute to the Dockworkers who effectively shut down all ports on the West Coast in protest of the Iraq War today.
A couple truly outstanding videos came out of the unexpected police action during the May 1 Immigration Rights Rally at MacArthur Park on Wilshire and Alvarado Streets in LA, Tuesday. So, good, and important to see, that I’m compelled to offer them below.
The first video puts you right in the action, a great piece of live journalism by GameJew, aka Jonathan Mann.
Unbelievable to see cops chasing people like this.
The second video was shot by Sasha Constanza-Chock (his written account of the experience is here. The disturbing footage begins at about 2:00.
No time to elaborate, however, I can direct you to my immediate reaction to last night’s events posted here.
Also, LA Weekly reporter Daniel Hernandez blogs in detail about the scene at his blog.
Listen to voices of reporters, observers, and organizers describe the melee here.
KPCC on the scene reports here.
Why did the police in riot gear allegedly not have badges visible? Why did they push the few derelict anarchists throwing “missiles” into the peaceful, all-ages crowd in the park instead of isolating them? How are they possibly trained to believe they can get away with intimidating the press for filming and reporting on the scene by firing rubber bullets indiscriminately?
photo by Sarah Hayes, used with permission.