Day three of Demonstrations. soldoll
Sat Aug 19 14:07:09 MDT 2000

Over 200 hundred organizations were involved in these protest
demonstrations.  A group of young students picketed the Gap store in
Pasadena.  Two thousand joined the picket line against the Loew's Hotel  in
a strike of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union, one of the more militant
unions in the city and led by Durasno, the wife of Miguel Contreras, head of
the County Federation of Labor.

The third day of demonstrations introduced a new factor into the
calculations of the police. ACLU began the day by announcing their intention
to take the police to court for the unwarranted attack on Monday night.

At the Pershing Park, the Teachers union and several SEIU unions were
preparing to voice their discontent over the lack of pay increases and the
delay of the school board and the city to grant them pay increases.  The
equation was altered once this group entered the scene.  They represented
tens of thousands.  The Teachers Union is one of the largest in the city and
the SEIU unions enroll thousands more  They are a big political force in the
city.  These were not young unaffiliated protesters.  The unions had
newspapers, money and were politically active.  Their march came off without
a hitch.

Television does not convey what thousands of police on the streets look
like. As the marchers went down Broadway every side street had police from
curb to sidewalk,  East and West of Broadway This was to prevent any
mavericks from deserting the line of march.  Hundreds of police cars were to
be seen every where. There were cops on horseback,  scores on bicycles and
hundreds on motor cycles. Along side the police was the Sheriff's Department
and the California  Highway Patrol.  Let us not forget the FBI.  The police
actively introduced spies into the student groups and agent provocateurs who
sidled up to the anarchist group to find out their intentions.  In the Los
Angeles Times the reporter suggests that he only inquired of their
intentions and the agent reported that the anarchist indicated a desire to
trash MacDonalds restaurant but it is not farfetched to believe that the
suggestion came from the agent provocateur.

One demonstration was held at the Rampart police station and a group of
white youngsters, probably reached agreement for token arrests for purposes
of civil disobedience.  The officers were happy to oblige.  The other side
of the coin was the young barrio kids dressed in black who by their talk and
actions were not pacifists.  They had too many encounters with the police in
their neighborhoods.

The final day saw parades through the garment district heading to the
Staples Center.  There were others marching and joining together. The first
group arrived and was herded into the parking lot.  The entrance was narrow
as the police moved concrete stantions for crowd control.  After a thousand
entered the corral the police moved forward to spilt the marchers. Thousands
on Figueroa refused to advance. A Black woman on a truck shouted, "Don't go
in! Remember what they did to Margaret Mitchell!"  ( This was in reference
to a homeless woman being shot and killed and the police claimed she
brandished a screwdriver.  The marchers ignored the police command to
retreat to Ninth street.  At this point Police Chief Parks arrived in the
rear of his line of cops and it appeared consulted with his officers for
nothing was done until the police opened their lines to allow those trapped
in the corral to join the larger group on Figuerao. After an hour the order
was given by the police to disperse and slowly the marchers went their way
some thousand to demand the release of the arrested protesters.

The central themes of these protest demonstrations were an attack  on global
capitalism  and on the criminal justice system . The leaders were in advance
of those in attendance who came to express discontent on narrow focus
issues.  It will be interesting  to see if these protest leaders are capable
of taking the broad issues to a higher level.  There is a lot of political
savvy in these leaders who are trying to wield together  a more permanent

As a final word: how proud we can be to see the best of American youth stand
up to brute force and come away defiant and celebrating their exposure of
what is wrong with capitalism. The police never intimidated them and they
thwarted the police attempt to establish a police state in Los Angeles

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