Occupy L.A. marches for May Day

IMAGINE—LAPD forms a barricade along Broadway Avenue in front of protesters during the May Day protest last Tuesday in downtown L.A. CN/Daniella Molina

By Daniella Molina

Thousands of Occupy protesters, labor workers and immigration activists exercised their First Amendment rights through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, last Tuesday.

The Occupy L.A. organization conducted a “Four Winds” demonstration consisting of four massive caravans that marched from four different corners of the Los Angeles County. The Four Winds movement was based on the idea that each cardinal area of north, south, east and west were covered and noticed.

The coalition of caravans marched determinably through the streets toward the center of the city. Protesters beat on drums and tamarinds chanting, “Banks got bailed out, you got sold out.”

Several protesters held up homemade signs and banners that supported their specific cause and reason. One woman held high a cardboard sign that questioned President Obama. The words “Obama, where’s our reform,” were printed out. Others waved rainbow- colored flags and screamed “Equality.”  There were bicyclists weaving in and out of the crowds, holding “Legalize L.A.” posters. Others rode through pulling banners that read “People over profit.”

The manner of the marchers was non-violent and followed the guidelines of the permits.  The LAPD’s presence was dominating and secure, but peaceful as well. Thousands of officers lined the streets patrolling on motorcycles, patrol vehicles, bicycles and by foot. Three helicopters circled from above, and followed the marches. With a small exception of a few individuals who attacked LAPD officers, the Los Angeles May Day rally went along, with little violence

The officers and other surrounding protesters were not injured. Organizations and supporters walked, rode and drove side by side with some of those whom were evicted from City Hall five months, ago during the beginning of the Occupy L.A. protest. A truck-load of labor workers drove slowly while a small band played a song that set the tempo of the marches.

Two Legalize L.A. organization leaders spoke to the growing crowd with megaphones. They said, “We are here for worker’s rights.  A worker is a worker regardless of their country of origin.  They deserve full benefits and our respect.”

The crowd followed along truck blowing whistles, playing instruments and chanting, “They say get back, we say fight back!” Several labor activists voiced “Si se puede” high and proud into the city.

Crosswalks on 6th and Broadway Street were transformed into a giant monopoly board. Each giant tile had a title that resembled the game board. “Wall street lobby,” “Campaign cost” and “Collect Government Subsides at Go” were some titles that reflected our current economy and the struggles of 99%.

“It’s always the same story. Rich people claim to do something about it.  And the poor people, well, we do this,” said former ELAC student, Tschka Moran.

He stood on the steps watching the sea of protesters begin to fill into perishing square. “The reality is we have to do this to get noticed,” said Moran.

Although the purpose of protest depended on the individual, but the majority was there to be heard and to spread a noticeable request for change. Among the fading police sirens and distant speakers playing the voice of Marvin Gay singing, “What’s going on,” Downtown L.A. was filled with those who seek change. The streets were filled with those who are willing to shake the cage for change and protest against corporate greed, and to fight social and economic inequality.

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