Posts Tagged ‘protests’

Well here it is. Been waiting for this one for a while. This is actually my first time at the annual May Day parade in Los Angeles. If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, you’ve already heard that there were two parades, due to conflict between two immigrants groups. Therefore, I will divide my report in two. One will cover the rally organized by Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition (FRIC) and the second half will cover the rally orgainzed by the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC).

Though there were two rallies, most people who took part would shift between the two, either because they didn’t care about the divide or because they didn’t realize there were two separate rallies, even though a line of LAPD officers separated between two groups. This is unfortunate, since if the two groups were united the amount of those who took part would have probably seemed larger than they were.

Here’s the report from the LA Times.

Full Rights for Immigration Coalition:

This was the first rally I went to when I got there. It was a bit larger than the other one which was further down the street.

The vast majority of protesters were holding the following sign.

A few bands were also playing at the rally:

A few socialist/communist protesters brought with them a pinata in the shape of a “capitalist banker.”

At first they tried to tie it around the street pole but it got stuck and the police told them they couldn’t do that. So they went to a nearby sidewalk (in front of the Bank of America) and used a metal stick to hold it up while kids took turns swinging at it until the candy came out.

Here’s a video of what happened:

Southern California Immigration Coalition:

This rally was blacked off by a line of LAPD officers.

End.

While I was searching for any upcoming rallies, protests, and demonstrations on the internet that people were planning on conducting this coming week, I happened to remeber the annual May Day Immigration march that occurs every year that I’ve always been anticipating to get on film. You know. The one that has now become a tradition in commemorating the colossal failure known as the Great American Boycott?

Anyways, while looking it up on where they were planning on having the march, I noticed something that peaked my interest: there will be two marches going on this May Day. Normally, there is a single march that is held by multiple immigrant groups. One will be lead by a group called by the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC), while the other will be lead by the group Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition (FRIC).

This division seems to be due to a conflict that the two groups had last year. According to the SCIC, they accuse FRIC and the LA County Federation of Labor of trying to “keep SCIC out of the planning process” by changing meeting dates and locations. They also accuse the organizers of cutting off the microphones when SCIC and CHIRLA activists were trying to speak, and that  Juan Jose Gutierrez and FRIC “collaborated” with the LAPD in order to block SCIC in getting a permit to march.

In response, the SCIC is planning on organizing a separate march this Sunday. Even though their budget isn’t as much as the other groups, they boast that they are larger and have more community support. I tried to see what FRIC’s response was but I’m unable to find their website if they have one. I did find their facebook page, but it’s terrible out of of date. Another difference between the two groups is that FRIC appears to by the arm of the Democratic Party, supports a Guest Worker Program, and tends to wave only American flags, while the SCIC is more grassroots oriented, hates both Republicans and Democrats, believes in complete open immigration, and waves flags from multiple countries.

It appears that both marches are planning on marching at the same time and place, though I’m not sure how that’s going to work out. FRIC seems more moderate compared to SCIC, but I’m not completely sure. Juan Jose Gutierrez himself has been accused of expressing “radical” views and being a Marxist. It’s just one of those things I’ll have to see when I head over there this Sunday.

From Ha’aretz:

The Palestinian Authority, as well as the leaders of the Palestinian popular protests in villages such as Bil’in, Na’alim, Umm Salmuna, have been trying to keep the following story away from both public knowledge and the media’s eye: One of the more prominent Umm Salmuna activists – a village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence – is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.

Omar Aladdin, who had been arrested three months ago over suspicions he had attempted to rape the U.S. citizen, was subsequently released after agreeing to apologize to the young woman. However, Haaretz had learned that representatives of both the popular protest movement and the PA have since applied pressure on the American peace activist as to prevent her from making the story public.

The incident allegedly took place last April, as Aladdin, who had served a term in the Israeli jail in the past, arrived one evening at the guest house in which many of the foreign peace activists were staying. The European and American female activists reportedly agreed to let Aladdin stay with them after he had told them he feared the Israel Defense Forces were on his tail, adding that he had been severely beaten at an IDF checkpoint only a week before.

During his stay Aladdin allegedly attempted to rape a Muslim-American woman, nicknamed “Fegin” by fellow activists. The woman escaped, later accusing the popular protest man of the attempt. One villager who had encountered the American following the incident said she had been in a state of shock.

Aladdin then refused to apologize for the incident, when news of it reached the village’s popular committee, the popular protests’ governing body, allegedly saying that the incident had been marginal and normal. The American activist then asked the committee to notify authorities of the attempted rape, a request which resulted in the man being arrested by security forces in Bethlehem. After agreeing to apologize for the incident, Aladdin was released from custody by the PA police.

The U.S. citizen was then convinced to retract her complaint, as to avoid tainting the image of the popular protest, which had attracted praise from around the world in recent months.

However, the Umm Salmuna case is not the only one. Separation fence activists know of other incidents in which Palestinians molested and sexually assaulted foreign peace activists, a subject which was apparently raised in the discussions of the various popular committees.

Foreign female peace activists regularly participate in protests in the villages of Bil’in, Na’alin, and others, where the activists stay in separate houses. Some villagers do not agree with these housing arrangements, claiming that the villages’ youth, who frequently visit the activists, are corrupted by the young women.

One villager said the female activists bring a different “culture with them, western, too open. The young people, especially from the villages, aren’t used to stay near other girls, they do not know their culture, certainly when it’s a young woman staying with other women in a strange house. They misinterpret it.”

Mahmoud Zwahara, the popular committee’s coordinator for the Umm Salmuna and Ma’sara region, said in response that “the struggle against the separation fence is a joint fight, which does not target Israeli identity or Jews. We hope that our activity will show the Israeli soldiers that they must cease their actions against us as well as human rights violations.”

April 17th, 2010. Los Angles City Hall.

The National Socialist Movement planned to have a rally on April 17th, 2010, in front of LA City Hall. Some far left groups caught wind of it and had a rally of their own

By the time I already arrived at 10:45, ANSWER, which is a heavily anti-racist and anti-war group alreadt set up tables and distributed banners and signs.

A huge wall of police officers were also guarding the area where the white nationalists were planning to demonstrate.

Here are a few pictures of some of the individuals who were marching up and down the street while waiting for thw white nationalists to arrive.

By 11:17, violence erupted when a mentally ill homeless man who had an assortment of neo-nazi tattoos stumbled unto the anti-war side. He was almost immediately attacked and beaten until he made it past the police officers:

Before the white nationalists or NSM members showed up I noticed the numerous assortments of groups that took part in the protest. Some of which have been listed as hate groups themselves by the ADL and SPLC! These include the New Black Panther Party:

And the Black Hebrew Israelites:

There were also Israel Defense Force supporters there also:

By 12:00, the police blocked the road in order to keep the counter protesters from attacking the neo-nazis. By this point violence erupted again after anarchist members mistook Richard Levik, a member of a group called The Levite Line, for one of the NSM members. According to his website: “The Levite Line is an organization dedicated to reestablishing the Levitical/Aaronic priesthood, as originally outlined in the Biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. is dedicated to the reunification of the House of Israel (also known as the House of Joseph) with the House of Judah, as one united people.  This reunification centers upon organizing the Levite’s (descendants of Levi) and Aaronites (descendants of Aaron, Moses’ brother), who are willing to participate, from amongst all of the tribes of Israel and Judah.” Richard Levik normally follows and shows up at numerous rallies that have a wide political viewpoint. He normally gets into confrontations with other protesters due to the controversial sign he normally takes to the protests which expresses anti-christian and anti-pagan sentiments. The group he’s a part of contains aspects of Judaism, Christianity, and Mormonism. Also, about Richard he claims he is neutral when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and he strongly values individualism, and it seems he supports same sex marriage. In the video below his sign is wanked from his hands by a protestor. He is then surrounded as the counter-protesters mob mentality set in and people started to assume he was a Nazi. He’s then punched and knocked to the ground until the police intervene and save him. The conflict starts around the 2:10 mark:

By 12:30, the Nazis finally arrive and a shouting match begins between the two groups. The NSM or Nazis then begin to step on and try to destroy a Mexican and Israeli flag:

When news spread that the NSM members were leaving at 1:45, the counter protesters jetted for the parking area, however they were stopped by another wall of police and prevented from entering the parking area. Many of the protesters, especially the anarchists, began throwing bottles at the police and in the direction of the parking area. After much intimidation police began pushing protesters back. After the confrontation started to die down a bit there was much disagreement with how the protesters were behaving towards the police:

After the demonstration 5 counter protesters were arrested.