According to the LAPD, the protest today was the largest ever in LA’s history, with over half a million people in attendance. I had earlier guessed there were a full million, so I guess I was about half right. I wasn’t going to be in town today because I was supposed to go to Search and Rescue training in the mountains, but I had to help with a VoIP install in OC. I had heard about the rally via LATimes, so I did a little google research and found out it started at 10am on Olympic and Broadway which is just a few blocks away from my house. I got to the rally at right around 10:30 and I was worried that I was going to miss it.
As it turned out, the rally took around 6 hours to make it’s way through the city, covering about 26 blocks at one time! Never in my life had I been surrounded by so many people. The vibe was actually celebratory and peaceful with half a million proud immigrants and their supporters flooding the street to get there message out against the draconian HR4437 that would make it a felony to cross the border illegally.
The peaceful actions of the extremely well organized protesters would make Martin Luther King Jr. a proud man if he was here to see it today. The vast majority of the protesters wore white to symbolize peace, but it also made the throngs of people stand out, their great numbers readily apparent. The marchers chanted the famous Ceasar Chavez slogan “Sí, Se Puede,” meaning Yes
We Can and carried placards with slogans such as “Keep Our Families Together” and “We Are Not Criminals“. My favorite was this “You Bug So Much You Woke Up the Sleeping Giant” sign.
Thousands of American and Mexican flags waived together as the news helicopters made passes over the crowd. It was the greatest show of patriotism I have seen my whole life, and the whole event really moved me. I didn’t get a chance to walk all the way to the front of city hall, but J. Emilio Flores from Getty Images News got these amazing shots of the crowd. I took a few hundred pictures and here are about 60 of them. I also shot a few rolls of B&W film, but I’ll have to develop and scan that before you can see it.
Other folks in the LA blogosphere that attended and wrote about it were Eric Richardson, Don Garza, Jim Winstead and LAVoice. Joseph over at Martini Republic was bitching about how nobody from the LA blogosphere cared about the protest or wanted to be a part of it:
These websites all think they have something to say about Los Angeles, where HALF A MILLION people marched today. Yet no simpatico on-the-spot coverage anywhere to be found among LA’s major generalist blogs.
It’s disgraceful, the way Latinos, even with their ascendant numbers, operate at a frequency that Anglos can’t quite hear, even here in Los Angeles, even when they flood the streets in the way that Anglos never dare to.
I’m guessing most Anglo bloggers took the opportunity to shop at Home Depot today while the parking lots were clear.
Those are pretty harsh words about a group of people who are on your side (and avid readers of your site)!
Update: I forgot to mention the were zero arrests and that the even organizers are saying there were over a million people in the march, which is what I had initially guessed. Also this news item made me laugh: 200 rally in support of stricter border control. And this made me feel sick [you’ll have to remove the “s” from the end of that domain if you want to see the article]. You can check out the protest photographs from about 7 different photogs on flickr here. In other news I should really proofread before posting!