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May Day protests: Thousands to participate in rallies across L.A.

May 1, 2012 |  9:34 am

Thousands of protesters are expected to participate Tuesday in May Day rallies across Los Angeles to register their views on a variety of issues including fair labor practices, immigration and income inequality.

Street closures began Tuesday morning and will last throughout the day downtown, the epicenter for the protests. The reach of the demonstrations will extend across Los Angeles, however, as caravans drive in for an “Occupy May 1” protest. And at LAX, workers planned to walk off their jobs to protest what they call unfair labor practices.  

KTLA-TV reported that airport workers began picketing at 3 a.m. and would continue all day, until midnight. Airport officials said about 1,200 members of United Service Workers West were expected to hold a demonstration and march starting at noon inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Those traveling to and from the airport between noon and 4 p.m. were warned to expect traffic delays partly because of two detours, officials said.

“While flight operations are expected to be normal, passengers are advised to check with their airlines to ensure their flights are on time before coming to the airport,” airport officials said in a statement.

An Occupy May 1 event downtown was expected to involve caravans driving in from other parts of the county, converging at 6th and Main streets around 2:30 p.m. to prepare for what organizers are calling “direct action” at the downtown financial district.

Occupy Los Angeles will hold a special General Assembly at 7 p.m. at Pershing Square, according to information on its website.   

In addition, members of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles will march and rally alongside the May 1 Unity Coalition, starting at 1 p.m. at Olympic Boulevard and South Broadway. Organizers say they are marching for “good jobs, immigration reform, voting and peace.”

The protests Tuesday mark the five-year anniversary of the “May Day melee” in MacArthur Park, when more than 90 protesters, reporters and bystanders said their civil rights were violated by police who opened fire with 200 rounds of beanbag munitions, stingers and hard rubber bullets after ordering demonstrators to disperse.

LAPD Lt. Andy Nieman said there were “plenty of officers deployed” to handle this year’s events. He said they have permits on file for four protests Tuesday.  

“We do this every year,” Nieman said. “We are well-informed. We’ve been working with the organizers for months now -– that’s the best part of our plan.”


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-- Matt Stevens