Los Angeles County Minuteman

Santa Monica, California


The turn out of suspected illegal aliens at the protest site was as usual (100 on weekdays and more on weekends). The day laborers spreads out over two city blocks lining both side of the street with a heavier cluster by the gate of Bourget Bros. Hardware on 11th Street between Olympic and Colorado Blvd.

We were a handful of protesters (a mix of Minuteman, SOS and USAForward) supporting the CTCIC’s call for a National Day of Protest. Our action started at 08.00 AM at a nearby staging area where we went over the Minuteman Standard Operating Procedures and the identification of they key documents that we would pass out to day-laborers, the unethical employers and the Media. The protest itself took place from 09.00 to 11.00 AM. At around 09.15 approximately 10 organized hecklers arrived with cardboards which they used to block our signs. They were confrontational and argumentative. Following the MM SOP, none of the National Day of Protest participants interacted with the hecklers in any way. At about the same time four police cars position themselves in order to cover the street in both directions and in addition, one or possibly two police cars circled around every few minutes. At around 09.20 two Media people arrived. A reporter from Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ) who is doing a detailed report on the Minuteman as a movement and the activities that they are involved in; and a reporter for Santa Monica Daily Press, the local Santa Monica newspaper.

At around 09.45 an additional 20 or 25 hecklers arrived in one big group. By that point there were approximately 35 to 35 hecklers total. The hecklers were in their mid to high 20’s in age and two of them in particular where more aggressive and confrontational than the first small group that arrived earlier. At this point we were overwhelmed by hecklers due to their higher numbers.

No amount of provocation caused any of the Day of Protest participants to budge or to interact, however a row broke out between the reporter from the Santa Monica Daily Press and the hecklers, resulting in name calling, agitation and threats. The reporter called the police (station) and since the police were already there in number, they got off their cars and quickly descended on the hecklers which put an end to that confrontation without incidents. Because we were overpowered by the number of hecklers we could not free our hands for a moment to take pictures.

Two of us held our video cameras and took video but we will not be submitting those at this time (I don’t know how). The newspaper reporter took many pictures and they might be published. If possible I will submit those later. The hecklers had the run of the physical space due to their numbers and they were able to take many pictures. It is theoretically possible that we can get those from their website (Aztlan something).

One important thing that happened is that the over 100 day laborers that were there at 09.00 very few remained to be seen. They scrambled out of there maybe to wait us out. We could see many would be pick-up employers slowing down and looking for illegal labor that was not there as usual. At around, 10.45 we had a suffocating tight circle of these hecklers around us. At that time the police came to where we were standing and asked us if there was a problem. As it was uncomfortable but easily manageable we told the police that we had no complaints and that we would soon leave at 11.00 AM. With that said, the police returned to their cars and a few minutes later we picked up our gear and everything else that we had brought with us and left. This was the first time that we protested in Santa Monica (a very liberal city), but from all the positive responses from pedestrians and drive-by traffic, I believe that we got our message across and made a positive impression.

To counter-act preposterous racist chants of “Europeans go home� and “Minuteman Racists�, I mentioned to the newspaper reporter that I am a foreign born Hispanic immigrant who had attained his naturalized citizenship legally, that my wife was also and legal immigrant.

I mentioned also that I am a candidate for State of California 41st Assembly District which covers Santa Monica. One funny thing that I can add is that the day before, when I went to the police station to describe our activity, the detective read the rubric from the announcement that said, “Stop the Invasion� and he said to me, “Stop the Invasion? Hum, that is something I would support�. His comment took me back, being that we were both in Santa Monica. It shows the issue of border security and the enforcement of immigration law resonates with both liberals and conservatives.