Eye Witness Reports:May Day 2007 Los Angeles Police Attack at the MacArthur Park
- Eye Witness Reports: May Day 2007 Los Angeles Police Attack at the MacArthur Park
May 5, 2007Dear Immigrant Right Activists:We have compiled the eye witness reports/statements form the May Day Los Angeles LAPD police attack at the MacArthur Park.These are their original testimony (by phone of written statement), without editing (except spelling and grammatical errors). For the security and privacy reason, we removed their name from the report.If you are immigrant rights organization or media would talk to them, please contact us: (213)403-0131 or e-mail: infor@...Lee Siu HinNational CoordinatorNational Immigrant Solidarity Network1. Police giving tickets to the young Latinos at MTA stationSaula: About 2:30 PM at the end of the 1st march at downtown L.A., when I went to the MTA Red line Civic Center Metro station, I saw several LAPD police officers were detaining and issuing tickets to several young Latinos at the station for reason I am not clearly sure why.
2. LAPD attack peaceful MacArthur Park gathering
Jubilee: LAPD riot cops unprovoked attacked the permitted, peaceful gathering of families & activists around 6pm, with motorcycles & firing plastic bullets & swinging batons, with the apparent objective of clearing the entire park vicinity of everybody at all. The maneuvers were unrelenting & merciless, even credentialed media were caught in the onslaught, many videos captured the assault & will soon be on the net. LAPD Chief Bratton is working hard to spin the p.r. version, but many witnesses will affirm that any reaction to lapd was well after their tightly organized storming of the park grounds, the controlled attack I saw began from Alvarado street moving west, I was on Alvarado & have several short phone videos.
At the immediate beginning of the attack, police on motorcycles plowed south thru peaceful gathering near north end of Alvarado (near 6th), the situation came to a pause as the many people were too much for the police who retreated to 6th st/Alvarado intersection & st up line. The conflict was re-ignited at Wilshire/Alvarado intersection where riot battalions ran into park from wilshire side north, that was followed by 2 open bed trucks with 40 riot cops sped south on alvarado toward 1/2way between wilshire & 6th & began open assault, driving everyone west several blocks beyond the park.
The street was filled with people & police initiating attack, the anarchists I observed were not marching seperately as bratton says, they were mingling among many in alvarado st, it is a ruse that the anarchists provoked police & were apart from the march. The masses had taken the street with police consent at vermont & wilshire intersection, as there was construction on east side of vermont so the march was on sidewalk west side of Vermont initially. At Wilshire everyone had to cross east & it became too much to use crosswalks at intersections--the march spilled across vermont, the police consented, & so on wilshire EVERYONE was then in the street entirely, which then continued onto alvarado turning north. LAPD Chief Bratton says 'disrupters' moved from the park into alvarado & provoked police, but actually the entire march was in alvarado st with police consent & protection. There was clearly a designed police thrust from north end of alvarado south, then opposite from south end north, where plastic bullet attack began, then mass reinforcements from north coming south on alvarado, then full scale assault moving west thru park continuing several blocks west of park.
3. Eyewitness at 7th/Alvarado
Celia: I was at the May day march yesterday and I saw the intimidation tactics used by the police department an hour earlier before they decided to fire rubber bullets into the crowds. I was on the side walk on the corner of 7th and Alvarado right in front of the 99$ store. At this time and place a group of Aztec dancers were dancing in large a circle and people who had been participating in the peaceful march were watching and applauding to the beat of the music, where all of a sudden they were pushed out of the street by a caravan of police motorcycle and cars who charged against them. I saw them pushed people out of the way, including an officer who pushed a young girls face. The Aztec dancers proceeded to move into the grassy area of the park where they continued dancing, however the police refused to let people cross the street to come to the grass area. The police could have perfectly used words to let the crowd know that they needed to move out of the street into the sidewalk not intimidation and fear. I feel that the tactics used by the LAPD were to scare, confused and intimidate people.
4. May Day Violence-I was thereLucy: I, my partner, and my 5-year old son were there at MacArthur Park on May Day. We marched with the queer contingency from Vermont and Washington. The police kept us very tight as we marched. When we arrived--probably around 3:30 or 4:00, there was already a huge police presence.
Around maybe 5:00 PM, there were many, many people, but all were peaceful. Some chanting, some singing, and some Aztec dancers. We were in the park on the grass near the corner where the police drove into the crowd. They drove straight in, and we could see nothing that could possibly have prompted that action. We were confused and a little scared, so we headed over to the other side of the park where the tents, speakers, and dancers/singers were. We stayed there for awhile before we noticed that the police had more than doubled their presence and now were standing with helmets down and nightsticks out. They lined up side-by-side all around two sides of the park. We stood on the sidewalk directly in front of them. Not once did we hear that the police had ordered us out. We did not receive any information from the police officers, who were completely unresponsive except to advance quickly on anyone who stepped off the sidewalk. We decided to leave when it became clear that they were preparing for something, and not something good. The helicopters were circling the whole time.
People were completely peaceful. No one even taunted the police, and we were standing directly at the corner where they entered the park.
The police started closing in on the park with NO ANNOUNCEMENT. It went from a stand-off type situation to them RUNNING into the crowd--which included many other children, old people, and vendors with heavy carts. We were across the street on Lake when we saw them run into the crowds, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. People were already leaving as they did so, although the remaining people were STILL PEACEFUL. We left then, but have heard many reports from friends about the violence that occurred after we left.
It was extremely frightening, even more so because it was so sudden and unprovoked. There is absolutely no excuse for the force they used on a peaceful crowd FULL of families.
5. MACARTHUR PARK DETAILS 5-1-07
Radio Reporter: I was there at the event yesterday with a colleague conducting audio
interviews for a local radio station. What we witnessed was horrendous in the way the LAPD treated the peaceful demonstrators.
It began on one end of the park as people were peacefully marching. Without warning the police arrive in their riot gear with batons and rubber bullet guns, jump out and demand everyone get on the sidewalks. Those that did not move from the street (believing that they had a right to peaceful protest) were approached by motorcycle cops who began to rev their engines and drive forward into the crowd, acting like they would run the demonstrators over. This included families and children.
People who were on the sidewalks were commanded to get in the park, but refused, stating they would be watching to see if the cops try to attack anyone so they stayed to serve as witnesses. I was told later by kids that someone was ran over by the motorcycle, some were hit. Later in the day, I was told about and shown rubber bullet wounds from close range shooting on the video camera of observers.
Soon, on the other side of the park there began more police harassment and everyone ran over to see. Throughout the stand offs- you would hear rubber bullets popping. I saw a couple kids throw plastic bottles toward the mobs of police who were harassing the protesters. Soon I went to the center of the park where peaceful protesters were enjoying the rallying the entertainment of the live band, and skits. However, before long, masses of people began RUNNING frantically from the street into the park. Turns out they were sprayed with teargas and were being chased.
Once people were IN the park, the police began to methodically infiltrate the park, as if they were conducting a militaristic public ICE raid. A helicopter announced everyone must leave. The police then went on their rampage, which you saw on the news. Once the park was cleared, police continued into the streets, intimidating people to flee into the streets local neighborhood. I, and many others could not get to our cars due to the way the police were flushing us out. Later, there were announcements that anyone caught in the area of Alvarado would "be arrested." The whole park was surrounded, traffic was backed up and streets blockaded by police.
Was any of that necessary? What happened to our First Amendment Rights? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".
End of the ReportsIf you are immigrant rights organization or media would talk to them, please contact us: (213)403-0131 or e-mail: infor@...=================================================================
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