Student protesters kick off May Day protests
Kicking off the May Day protests, members of the Santa Monica College Student Organizing Committee demonstrated in morning traffic to the sounds of honking cars and cries of support and exasperation. Mikhail Pronilover, one of the more vocal members of the SOC, explained that the group's mission was the participate in the May Day struggles taking place around Los Angeles and the world, to raise awareness of workers' and students' struggles in the Santa Monica community, and to prepare for the evenings Board of Trustees meeting.
Marching across the intersection of Pico Boulevard and 22nd Street, the student protesters chanted slogans like "No cuts, no feed, education must be free," and "the students, the workers, will never be defeated."
Morning commuters, unable to pass the demonstration, reacted with a mixture of frustration and delight. Some drivers and passengers encouraged the students, while others blared their horns and extended middle fingers to the students after narrowly speeding past them during brief openings.
Plans for the day include rallys such as the one on Pico Boulevard at 7:45 a.m., student walk-outs and "teach-outs," where the students attempt to educate and spread awareness of their cause to other students and faculty around SMC, and a protest for the evenings Board of Trustees meeting.
According to Sergeant Mark Kessler of the SMC Police Department, the police are doing "a number of things" to prevent a situation like the last Board meeting from occurring. At the April 3 Board of Trustees meeting, up to 30 student protesters were pepper-sprayed by campus police while trying to force their way into the boardroom where the meeting was being held.
As a result, the trustees meeting this evening will be held in the main stage on SMC's main campus.