Thursday, May 03, 2007

ANAKBAYAN LA organizer gets hit by LAPD and ANAKBAYAN NY/NJ may 1 events


New York City- Filipino youth across the United States marched in solidarity with immigrant families and workers throughout the streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and other cities. Members from Anakbayan NY/NJ expressed their enthusiasm for immigrant rights saying NO to deportations and ICE raids in front of thousands of people with fiery executions of speeches and song. Most rallies were peaceful, except for Los Angeles's rally that turned into chaos when the police suited up in their riot gear, and started using rubber bullets and tear gas, and even injured a Filipino youth from Anakbayan LA. We strongly oppose this racist police aggression that occurred in L.A. against immigrant families and one of our own allies of Anakbayan, a collective of Filipino youth, students and non-students.

Most May 1 mobilizations across the nation were peaceful, except in Los Angeles, where the cops started to attack innocent bystanders, who were not part of the rally. The cops used rubber bullets that broke the skin of several bystanders, and used tear gas to disperse people. Most of the people being attacked by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) were families and elders.

Hollie Enriquez, the member of Anakbayan LA who was hit by the LAPD described the situation as,

"The police's actions weren't targeting people who were instigating fights, instead they were shooting primarily at Latina families in a very indiscriminate manner. One of the cops said to a vendor who was an elder, "Hurry up, hurry up you fucking Mexican!". After the cop had said that comment, he reached for the Mexican flag taped to the vendor's push cart, but I grabbed the flag out of the cop's hand and asked him what he was doing. The cop responded by hitting me in the back with his baton. Based on the police's comments and actions, this was the LAPD's racist aggression on the local immigrant community."

This racist act against immigrant families and the elderly is completely unjust, and should not be taken lightly. The Filipino youth in New York and New Jersey strongly oppose the LAPD's actions, and support Anakbayan L.A. and all the immigrant communities in L.A. that are demanding justice from Tuesday's atrocity.

In contrast to Los Angeles's violence, New York City was a somewhat "peaceful" protest with ten arrests, Anakbayan NY/NJ youth sang "Awit ng Pagasa", a Tagalog song symbolizing the hope for positive change within our society, standing in solidarity with the workers and peasants, and to never give up the struggle. Afterwards several representatives from Anakbayan NY/NJ, including Michelle Saulon, Christina Hilo, and Anne Beryl Corotan spoke passionately about the immigration situation both in the Philippines and the United States, critically analyzing the effects of the economic system and globalization that push our families and kababayan to migrate. All three Anakbayan women were speaking Spanish, Tagalog, and English so that most people at the rally could understand.

"First and foremost, we, the youth, stand in solidarity with all the migrant workers all over the world," said Michelle Saulon in response to the May 1 rally. "We won't stop and won't back down until there is legalization for all immigrants. Because some of us in Anakbayan are migrants too, and we understand. Lubog tayo sa masa. (We are one with the masses.)"


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