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May Day in LA: 100,000 March for Legalization

By staff

Police Later Attack Second Rally at MacArthur Park

Lead banner = "Legaliacion"

Los Angeles, CA – 100,000 enthusiastic demonstrators took the streets here May 1. Marching up Broadway to a mass rally at City hall, they demanded legalization for undocumented immigrant workers and an end to raids and deportations. The event was well organized and included security for the protest. The event was led by the March 25 Coalition, which has brought together dozens of community and labor groups, including Latinos Against War.

The Los Angeles rally included speeches by prominent African American leaders like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who talked about the similar historical independence struggles of Blacks and Latinos in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as Haiti and Mexico. She drew tremendous applause from the crowd that included migrant families from Mexico and Central America. Minister Ishmael Mohammad from the Nation of Islam got a great response, speaking in Spanish and talking about our shared oppression and struggle for liberation.

Hunger strikers and March 25 Coalition leaders Gloria Saucedo, Hermandad Mexicana and Javier Rodriguez demanded full legalization and criticized the current proposed immigration legislation. Other speakers included labor activist Alejandro Stephens of SEIU 721 and Fernando Ledesma of United Teachers of LA. Undocumented migrant families spoke out, as did students from Boyle Heights including, the Duenas family and students from Roosevelt High School who work with Latinos against War.

Speakers and supporters included Bayan International, FMLN, FOMUSSA, singers, poets and a wrap-up speech by the veteran Chicano leader Carlos Montes calling for linking the immigrants struggle to the fight for freedom and self-determination.

Police attack peaceful rally

Later in the afternoon the Los Angeles Police Department attacked another peaceful rally at MacArthur Park. The rally was put on by Somos America, a coalition of non-profit groups and unions. The LAPD shot rubber bullets into the gathering without a warning to disperse. Latino families, TV news crews and other journalists were beaten. One of the March 25 hunger strikers was beaten in the neck and back and forced to seek medical attention. This attack by the LAPD is a move as a political organization to repress the growing militancy of the immigrant’s rights movement – a movement that has grown in strength in the last year. This is a racist police attack against the Mexican/Latino community.

History of repression

After the attack, Latinos Against War issued a statement slamming the long history of repression in Los Angeles. It read in part: “We know that the local police and FBI have historically attacked our community like the August 29, 1970 Chicano Moratorium where KMEX news director Ruben Salazar, Angel Diaz and Lynn Ward were killed the by LA County Sheriffs. Ruben Salazar was killed with a tear gas missile shot to his head. Another example of political repression is the federal Counter Intelligence Program that infiltrated and attacked the Black and Chicano movement organizations like the Black Panther Party, Brown Berets, Chicano Moratorium and the Crusade for Justice in the late 1960s.”

The March 25 Coalition held a press conference in front the of the LAPD headquarters May 2 to announce a class action lawsuit by the Mexican American Bar Association and the National Lawyers Guild against the LAPD. Speakers condemned and exposed this attack on our movement for equality and self-determination. Latinos Against War states, “We are committed to continue the struggle for migrant rights and not let this racist blatant attack derail our movement.”

colorful (if you like red) crowd shot

Los Angeles, May 1, 2007

Crowd shot - Los Angeles, May 1, 2007

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