Today I attended the Chinatown Wal-Mart strike here in Los Angeles. This was far from the first civil disobedience I have filmed or witnessed in person, but today’s “show” was by far the most memorable. The reasons are not those which you may assume.
Todays civil disobedience involved not only striking Wal-Mart employees but union members from the local teamsters union, the clean car wash campaign, and others.
This was the largest civil disobedience in Wal-Marts 51 year history. It was also by far the greatest “show of force” at a planned CD, by LAPD.
54 people getting arrested, we expect 2 cops for each person, as that is how LAPD tends to roll, no one expected the 200+ officers that showed up in tactical gear, with extra long batons, tear gas, and “less lethal rounds”.
Before the police moved in to make their arrests, two lines, of about 20 officers each came and lined both sides of the street, guns ready. I wondered to myself if the police forgot they were working with the union, and this was a peaceful CD, with no locks or devices.
What the hell made them show this kind of force?
I was unable to stream. When I arrived there, I spent 15 minutes trying to log onto ustream. It kept telling me it couldnt make a connection, so I filmed with my cell, and took photos instead. When the police truck left, ustream suddenly worked again. This is far from the first time this has happened at a place where I know I have reception, and should have no issue streaming.
You can tell me all you want the LAPD can’t block data and I will tell you, you are completely wrong. The LAPD uses a device called the “STINGRAY” which effectively disturbs transmissions by intercepting them. So if you used your cell at the protest today, LAPD knows who you called, and how long you spoke, and could have listened in, or even read your text messages.
While I filmed, I uploaded to Youtube as I clipped it, which for the size of the clips, should have taken moments, but took much much longer. This is another sign they are messing with data networks, which is ILLEGAL. Wiretapping laws, and FCC rules are supposed to protect us from this.
So what was this show of force by LAPD supposed to do? Intimidate people on behalf of Wal-Mart? Because that is certainly what it felt like.
So here are my videos and photos from the protest! Enjoy!
Power of the people: