Thursday, May 03, 2007

LAPD Brutality On May Day.

To many people in the world, myself included, May Day marks one of the most important days of the year. May Day was the original Labor Day, and is recognized by most of the developed world as such. Not so much in the United States, despite that the celebration of May Day originated here.

Given the history of this worker’s holiday, it is only fitting for untold thousands of immigrant workers to march for better working conditions. And march they did. If the anti-war movement had a fraction of the organization and dedication that these non-English-speaking immigrants did, then chances are our soldiers would be home by now.

However, the May Day march in Los Angeles didn’t go off without a hitch. In fact, the marchers were attacked by the Los Angeles Police Department. “They were merciless”, said KPFK radio host Ernesto Arce, who took part in the march. For 30 minutes hundreds of activists and bystanders were shot with rubber bullets and beaten with night sticks. The cops “chased us through the park firing at anyone who might have been an obstacle. I witnessed many people who were shot at from the back,” Arce said.

Which, of course, given the well documented history of racism inside the LAPD, it isn’t all that surprising that the LAPD would attack peaceful protesters. This is the same police department that has ties to white supremacists, who hires cocaine smugglers, who shoots and kills African-American 13 year olds, 19 month old Hispanic toddlers, and 13 years after the history of the Rodney King beating, still clubs black men when they are surrendering to police.

Given this history, this kind of behavior by the LAPD won’t change until they are forced to change. Perhaps if police officers had to run for public office to keep their jobs, then maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to beat and kill their constituency. Until then, perhaps the immigrant community can learn a thing or two from the Black Panthers of yesteryear. Arm yourselves.


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