Weekend Immigration Protests End with Violence

Posted: May 03, 2010 11:32 AM
This weekend's protests over the Arizona immigration law were a mixed bag of peaceful marches to arrests and violent outbursts. 

On Saturday, a member of Congress was arrested during a protest outside of the White House.  Rep. Louis Gutierrez, D-Ill., was speaking to a group of protesters gathered for a May Day protest when he announced he'd sit in front of the White House until he was either arrested or until "comprehensive" immigration reform was enacted.  After the police repeatedly asked the congressman to move along, they arrested him.  Interesting: a member of Congress purposefully breaking the law. It was obviously a PR stunt, considering he was wearing a shirt that said, "Arrest Me..."

California may have been ground zero for the majority of the weekend's protests.  Thousands showed up in San Francisco's Bay Area to march.  According to local news, things got violent at one point:
Three people were attacked and at least two others were arrested. The people assaulted were part of the Minutemen demonstration, a group in favor of Arizona's new immigration law.

They said a large group of immigrants' rights supporters followed them to the BART station on Market Street and started punching and kicking them, and calling them names.

"They said we were racists, and we were against them, and against their town, and against San Francisco," said Parker Wilson with the Bay Area National Anarchists. "What they were saying, they said we need to get out and called us racists, and that we need to go home. And then they just attacked my friends and me."

In San Jose, anarchists protested with torches and techno music (Warning: some naughty language):

And in Santa Cruz, the AP reports that close to 20 businesses were damaged after a peaceful march turned violent. 

Police spokesman Zach Friend said an estimated 250 people started marching through the city around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

It was a harmonious but "unpermitted and unsanctioned event," he said, until some in the crowd started breaking windows and spraying paint on retail shops that line the downtown corridor.

Friend said he wasn't sure if the damage was caused by people marching in support of immigrants' rights, or if the group was "infiltrated by anarchists."

Anarchy signs were spray-painted on some of the buildings.

"They're a group of people who seem to fancy themselves as revolutionaries, but what they really are are a group of morons," Friend said.

A fire was started in a coffee shop entryway but was extinguished once police cleared the way for firefighters, Friend said.

Eighteen businesses were damaged, with the cost of repairs estimated at between $50,000 and $100,000. No injuries were reported.

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