L.A. Sights and Sounds

Revolutionary Worker #1218, November 2, 2003, posted at rwor.org

We received this report from L.A.

On a hot day in Los Angeles people came to the 8th annual October 22nd, followed by an entourage of eight patrol cars and a police van. Each patrol car was stuffed with five cops, and also being five cops on hoof and bike cops on our backs.

The owners of jewelry shops closed their shops as the vibrant march passed them, and reopened their shops as we passed. Nine hundred people marched down what would be a busy Broadway street. The streets were empty due to a bus strike.

As the march continued, people working in sweatshop buildings in the garment district looked down on the protesters clapping to the beat of the drums from the Watts Drum Corps and punk youth, and they cheered the people on.

At the rally, who else can galvanize the resisters there but the family members of victims of police brutality themselves speaking about their children who were taken from them, and who were taken from us. We had a strong sense of how conscious these family members were about the role the police play in this society, and how they understand that the police are not their friendly neighborhood protectors, but daily occupiers who terrorize their families and communities. Judith Alvarado broke into tears telling the story about the cops broke into her house and murdered her son in front of them. The crowd hearing this were enraged at the police, booing at them and calling them murderers.

O22 has been expressed in Los Angeles eight times, but this time the anger of the families, youth and all other activists against the ruthless LAPD echoed over skyscrapers and was felt throughout the city.

In one incident, two undercover cops followed some anarchist youth to their car, in an attempt to arrest them. When two protesters saw this, they followed after the police with their cameras, announcing to them, "You're not getting away with this today pigs," and the cops were forced to let them go. After this incident, these same two undercover cops continued marching, besides taunts from people yelling and pointing, "LAPD," and all they could do was put their hands up like they got busted.