Minor Scuffle Disturbs May Day Protest
On the 47th annual May Day protest, hundreds of people gathered at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, California to demand workers' rights and other issues this year. Attendees gathered at the park at 4 p.m. holding signs in support of not only workers' rights, but also upholding immigrant rights, legalizing street vending in Los Angeles, ending gentrification, and stopping police brutality and terrorism. But only about forty-five minutes into the protest, a fight started between a counter-protester and someone attending the protest.
A man allegedly pushed a woman who was attending when Jefferson Azeveel pushed the man back. Azeveel described the incident, saying, “There was like a bully pushing everybody… trying to intimidate everybody and they pushed one of the women… and I just got in the way to defend her and myself.” This led to the Azeveel being detained, but was soon released by police.
Just after 5 p.m., the protesters stepped out of MacArthur Park and went eastbound on W 6th St towards city hall, which was led by a band made up primarily of children. LAPD officers cooperated with the protesters during the two and a half mile walk to city hall.
As the crowd of protesters approached city hall at approximately 6:30 p.m., a group of about a dozen President Trump supporters stood on the south east corner of W 1st St and N Spring St. Almost immediately as they caught sight of the large group of protesters, their stereo turned on and played a tune having the lyrics, “ten feet, twenty feet, a hundred-feet tall, build a wall, build a wall.”
While holding a large American flag, Ian Oafontainne said, “I’m here because I’m against communism and I’m against the subversion of our country here… A lot of people come into this country and they don’t have any respect for it.”
Dozens of police officers lined the streets surrounding city park, with five officers with riot gear standing in between the Trump supporters and the protesters. Detective Brad Hopkins of LAPD Wilshire division said, “We’re here just trying to make sure everyone has a chance to have their say peacefully.” When asked why some officers had on riot gear, Hopkins said it was done as a preventative measure. “You know, you got strong emotions on both sides, so it’s always our goal to be able to talk to people so it doesn’t rise to that,” Hopkins said.
Amidst the group of Trump supporters being present, the larger group of protesters carried on with their chants and speakers, one of them being Adam Rice. He said, “Don’t misquote me on this, but we going to probably end up having to give that dude [Donald Trump] a Nobel Peace prize because he’s bringing everybody together because he’s such a horrible person.”
Rice stated he has been attending events similar to the May Day protest for over twenty years, but “ never seen as many people come out now except perhaps during George W. Bush’s term under the Iraq War… I think it’s a chance for us to come together… This right here is a day to come together for the workers.”
The event concluded at approximately 7:30 p.m. with no known arrests and one official count of violence.