Los Angeles Protest Demonstrations

Soldoll@SPAMinreach.com soldoll
Sat Aug 19 12:50:29 MDT 2000


Los Angeles was the scene of four days of protest demonstrations.  In
preparation for these events. The police had observers at the Seattle,
Washington D.C. and Philadelphia protests. For the last several months the
police conducted mock demonstrations  using part of the police force as
dissidents so they could perfect street tactics in curbing an angry crowd.
For two weeks Mayor Richard Riordan and Police Chief Bernard Parks warned
the public that participants in demonstrations could expect forceful
resolute intervention by the police .  Chief Parks was critical of the soft
approach of the Philadelphia department.  (Some of the arrested had bail set
at $ 1 million) He promised a tougher stance in Los Angeles. An unbiased
observer of these advance press statements led to the obvious conclusion
that the warnings were to frighten people from the protests and to prepare
the way for violent acts of the police.

A member of the Rampart division  was caught stealing cocaine from the
station and in a plea bargaining  revealed that officers had systematically
framed arrested citizens in the predominately ethnic neighborhood. There
were indications that similar practices occurred in other divisions of the
police.  The testimony of  the convicted police officer led to a score of
prisoners being released from jail and the review of several thousand other
cases. It represents the biggest police scandal in the country.  What an
opportunity for Police Chief Bernard Banks and the Mayor to turn public
attention from the scandal to the mobilization of thousands of police to
protect the Democrat convention.

The police prepared to violate protesters constitutional rights until
Councilwomen Jackie Goldberg, a participant in the free speech fight at
Berkeley in the 60's,  asked the council to set a protest site at Pershing
Park directly in front of the Biltmore Hotel.  A deal was cut for the city
to contribute four million dollars to the DNC in return for support of the
protest site. Deal or no deal ,Police Chief Banks was enraged and was
joined by the merchants of the one of the worlds largest jewelry centers.
The council reversed its position.  The ACLU intervened and their action
opened the door to the right of  protest demonstrations.  The police ignored
the constitutional rights of citizens began to harass the young students
engaged in making street puppets for the parades.Several unannounced visits
were made by the police to the store front. Overhead, the Police helicopter
flashed lights on the building fifty times a night.  Two young women were
arrested for jay walking.  The ACLU achieved relief from the police in an
order from federal Judge Dean Pregerson. The police had to obtain a warrant
if they wanted to get into the puppet making operation.

The first march took place a day before the opening of the convention.  The
temperature rose to the nineties and the humidity was unbearable.  The
police reported 3,500 people in attendance and the organizers figure was
7,000.  The theme of the march was support for a new trail for Mumia Abu
Jamal and an attack on the criminal justice system.  The parade was
monitored by 200 lawyers from The National Lawyers Guild.

On Monday, the protesters met again. Not all were the same. New forces
arrived from the striking members of the Screen Actors Guild, The
International LongshoreUnion,  Labor Party members. Oil Chemical Workers
Union. The intention was to have the labor contingent lead the march but
thousands surged forward.  In this mass were members of the Green Party,
International Socialist Organization and many other  radical groups but of
great interest was the 200 supporters of the Anarchists dressed all in Black
with Black Bandannas.  The marchers reflected the ethnic composition of the
city. Browns, Blacks, Asians and whites were every where.

The march was to culminate near the Staples Center where Men Against the
Machine were giving a concert. The crowded swelled to 15,000.  After the
concert the police decided it was time to put into practice all they had
been preparing for these past months.  Hundreds surged forward firing rubber
bullets and using batons. Among the victims were photographers and a
delegate to the DNC Miguel Contreras, head of the County Federation of
Labor.  Contreras was hit across the chest by a baton wielding cop. It is
not hard to imagine Contreras on the phone to Riordan and Parks that
evening.








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