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After nearly two hours of peaceful protest, dozens of LAPD police in full riot gear instigated a wave of unprovoked violence on the progressive crowd. They pushed protestors, struck them with batons and wrestled several people to the ground while beating them brutally. Several ANSWER activists were brutalized and one was arrested because his friend was attempting to take photographs of riot police slamming a bystander against the back of a truck and hitting him with a baton. Top police brass later tried to justify their violence by saying protestors provoked the beatings by “crossing police lines" - an outright lie.
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People from the surrounding neighborhood stopped and shouted at the police to stop their rampage against the protest.
LAPD and Minutemen collaboration
The police arrested around six people without cause while the fascist Minutemen chanted “L-A-P-D,” cheering them on. It was a naked display of police and fascist collaboration. The outraged anti-immigrant crowd stood their ground and defended their demonstration while chanting “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand!” Carlos Alvarez, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, then gave an impassioned speech to denounce the LAPD's brutality and defend the rights of the protestors to demonstrate against the Minutemen.
Hundreds of cops escorted around 150 Minutemen down Hollywood Boulevard in their racist march, which was followed by progressive pro-immigrant rights demonstrators. Despite the efforts of the LAPD to impede the several hundred progressive demonstrators, including another wave of police violence, protestors outlasted the Minutemen and held a brief victory rally before marching to the ANSWER office less than one block away. Activists felt a sense of accomplishment and struggle after fending off police violence and maintaining an organized, successful action against the Minutemen.
Organizing to fight back
The ANSWER Coalition has vowed to respond swiftly to this vicious police attack. Along with its partners in the National Lawyers Guild and Latino Movement USA, ANSWER will host a press conference on Tuesday, July 12 (see below). Featured speakers will include immigrant rights organizers, ANSWER organizers and lawyers, victims of police brutality at the protest and others. There will be video footage shown that depicts the outrageous brutality of the cops that day. ANSWER and the NLG are vigorously defending the rights of the anti-racist protestors and plan to file a civil suit against the LAPD and the city - helmed by pro-police mayor Antonio Villaraigosa - because of this flagrant assault on people’s civil rights.
Muna Coobtee, member of the ANSWER steering committee in Los Angeles said: “This unprovoked, terrible assault on a peaceful protest violates our civil rights and is aimed at the heart of the immigrant rights movement. The police came to this demonstration today, in an alliance with ultra-right-wing elements, to try to beat back the struggle for equality. We can’t look at this incident in isolation from the overall political climate. We know that it is related to the racist raids launched by the federal government targeting undocumented workers. It is related to the bigotry being whipped-up by the immigration hearings happening all over the United States . Because these connections are clear, we can be clear in saying that these intimidation tactics won’t workthey will backfire. The immigrant workers’ movement will remain stronger and more united than ever before.”
The independent people’s movement will not tolerate the LAPD’s criminal behavior. Police repression and the Minutemen are part of the right-wing's ploy to defeat the just struggle of immigrants for amnesty and full legalization. All charges leveled at any anti-racist protestor must be dropped immediately. The LAPD and the city must be held accountable.
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER): LAPD brutality targets immigrant rights movement