Thursday, May 26, 2005

Minutemen Supporters Attacked in the O.C.


If you are not completely aware of the story, please go here to read the news coverage first. This post below contains all the ongoing updates.

[Editor's Note: I've added photographs, eyewitness accounts, and video clips. I am updating this story in real time, as I find out more and more information. Everything is being added at the bottom of this article, so please stay tuned for continual updates.]

Latest Updates:

6/2 02:48 Who are these protesteors, really?! You'd be surprised to know!

5/27 16:54 LA Times article: After Minuteman Melee, Protesters Have New Beef

5/27 00:19 Eyewitness account from female MM attendee.

5/26 22:31 NBC 4 News Article

5/26 18:00 FBI Investigation in Vegas

UPDATE 5/26 09:30:

Eyewitness account:

The way the LA Times wrote this differs from the account of the driver, Hal Netkin. He was interviewed on the radio this morning, and he said his car was surrounded by protestors, people were pounding on his car, ripped one of his windshield wipers off, and police watched nearby but did nothing. So he merely tried to move closer to the police. He was actually put in a jail cell with other protestors who were arrested!!! At the end, he was not charged and was released.

UPDATE 5/26 09:42:

VIDEO CLIPS: Hastily assembled video clips of the protest here and here. (Hat tip: 1inchgroup at SOS.)

Here's another eyewitness account from Old Preach at SOS:

About 75-100 protestors showed up to basically try to disrupt our 1st amend rights. Jim Gilchrist put it well tonight when he said, "What is this country coming to when you have to have be in back of a line of riot police to excersize your 1st amend rights?" That is exactly what it was the letter.

Protesters tried to block the driveway by walking back and forth in front of it. One of them was clipped by an incoming car. Perhaps he walked into the car purposefully. He fell to the ground which enraged the other goons. The next car coming is was pounded upon, then one of the goons busted out the back passenger window ! I mean busted it all the way in, glass flying on the elderly couple within. The driver of the car that clipped the goon was arrested, and the goon was taken away by EMT's.

During the speaking by Gilchrist, the protesters tried to get as loud as possible to disrupt the event. Fire trucks were being called constantly, and more riot police, this time on horseback were called in.

It turned really ugly when the police closed down the street to form a line of riot police across the entire street so that the folks at the event could leave. This way, the driveway was free and they could not get near our cars. Then , one or more of the goons started thowing bottles (according to one officer i asked) at the police. This resulted in arrests. On Cebeda's KPFK show, this was referred to as "unprovoked attacks" on the goons. I got on the phone to Cebeda , and got thru as his show was going off. One nut said there were 500 protesters, and only 25 minute men. The real #'s were 75 to 100 protesters ,about 250 CCIR folks including their guests, 20 minuteman volunteers, and the media. ALL the buzz on Cebeda's show was MMP , SOS , Baldwin Park, Garden Grove...SOS SOS SOS MMP SOS...on and on. One thing is for sure, What is going down recently with MMP and SOS is THE BUZZ in their world, period.

Cebeda's going away line on his show was.... " from occupied Mexico, AZTLAN, we are in a war and being attacked, so we must respond!"

So I guess it's all a myth ? They are not interested in "taking it back"?!

Uh huh, and I have a bridge for sale...

NOTE: The Baldwin Park incident was when Save Our State protested the monument that is clearly Reconquista. Here's the link.

Photographs from the riot (Hat Tip: 1inchgroup at SOS):

Milling crowds

Remember the Baldwin Park story? Well, those words are not empty. Read the big white sign in front.

Police in riot gear tried to hold back the protestors so the MMP supporters could leave their meeting

"Terrorism"? Who attacked whom tonight?

Notice the protestor flipping the bird. Not sure what "self-defense" is about...

Classy rhetoric

MECHa representatives joined the rally (woman and amn at far right of photo). And you thought they were legit?

Police on horseback and in full riot gear.


From the President of ALIPAC:

I'm in Vegas for the summit.

The local news, CBS 8 is running the story about the MMP/Gilchrist event over and over again.

They are saying that a memember of the MMP ran over protestors and was arrested. They are showing a picture of him being taken away by a police officer.

They ARE NOT mentioning that his car was surrounded and attacked. They ARE NOT mentioning that at least 8 protestors were arrested.

Then they point out that Gilchrist will be at the summit at the Cashman Center here in Vegas this weekend.

Protests are already planned. With this biased coverage we are in grave danger. Please please get on the phones to all local press and national press and tell them to balance this coverage with the other info!


UPDATE 5/26 14:16:

Anti-illegals activists threatened
Hispanic group suggests food workers might taint food at Vegas summit

A radical anti-American group working for the establishment of a separate Hispanic nation in the southwest U.S. has threatened attendees of an anti-illegal immigration conference in Las Vegas planned for this weekend, saying Mexican food workers might cause "Montezuma's Revenge" among those they serve.

A news release from La Voz de Aztlan – which sees its struggle for a separate state with Los Angeles as its capital as similar to that of the Palestinians in the Middle East – announces that leaders of the "USA Anti-Mexican Movement" – Aztlan's own term – will be meeting this weekend in Las Vegas.

The release from La Voz de Aztlan ends with the threat:

"What the bigots who will be meeting at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas don't know may not harm them, but the fact is that most of the personnel who work in the hotel's kitchens are Mexican. We pray that they don't fall victims of 'Montezuma's Revenge' from eating the food."

Hispanic activists for years have sought a separate state from the area they believe was unjustly taken by the U.S.

"If in 50 years most of our people are subordinated, powerless, exploited and impoverished, then I will say to you that there are all kinds of possibilities for movements to develop like the ones that we've witnessed in the last few years all over the world, from Yugoslavia to Chechnya," University of California at Riverside professor Armando Navarro told WND in 2002.

"A secessionist movement is not something that you can put away and say it is never going to happen in the United States," he continued. "Time and history change."

Aztlan, the mythical birthplace of the Aztecs, is regarded in Chicano folklore as an area that includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas. It is this area – lost when Mexico signed the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo at the end of the Mexican-American War – that activists want to make into a sovereign Hispanic state that could eventually merge with Mexico.

On its website, La Voz de Aztlan, which means the Voice of Aztlan, identifies Mexicans in the U.S. as "America's Palestinians." Many Mexicans see themselves as part of a transnational ethnic group known as "La Raza," the race. La Voz de Aztlan declares on its site that "both La Raza and the Palestinians have been displaced by invaders that have utilized military means to conquer and occupy our territories."
NOTE: La Voz de Aztlan is VERY HEAVILY pro-jihad, anti-America, and anti-Semitic. They completely identify with Al-Qaida and Hezbollah. Their rhetoric is incredibly inflammatory.
UPDATE 5/26 16:48: Headlines and photos from this site, on the other side (LA Independent Media):

Reports of arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters in Garden Grove -
The protest was peaceful and non-violent until the police rushed the crowd and arrested people for no reason.

Protesters attacked in Garden Grove

The pictures have been debunked as phony. And, if this protester report is to be believed (if you can stomach the spin), most of those protesting were Chicano(a) and at least one leader of MEChA was there.

All links are from The Immigration Blog

UPDATE 5/26 18:00:

Alert: The FBI has an active investigation into specific terroristic threats against the food supply for the Summit in Vegas. There is a real Aztlan threat.

UPDATE 5/26 20:18:

Man Freed After Driving Into Minuteman Protesters

Harold Edmund Netkin, 69, was initially handcuffed Wednesday night, but was later released without being cited, said Garden Grove Police Lt. Mike Handfield.

Netkin's car was surrounded as he arrived at the Garden Grove Women's Club, 9501 Chapman Ave., and demonstrators rocked the vehicle and banged on it, Handfield said.

"We determined it was reasonable for him to move forward," Handfield said.

Two people who were standing in front of Netkin's car fell down when he moved forward, the sergeant said. One complained of knee and shoulder pain and was taken to a local hospital, he said.

According to broadcast reports, the other also went to the hospital.

Police were aware of the demonstration and had five dozen officers on scene "expecting to keep the peace," Handfield said. But some of the estimated 300 demonstrators were there "not to protest but to commit criminal acts," he said.

"A small contingent of people that were troublemakers had backpacks filled with full cans of soda that they were throwing and also cans filled with marbles that they threw," Handfield said.

Some of the protesters wore rubber gloves and donned sweatshirt hoods pulled tightly so only a small portion of their faces could be seen, he said.

Those arrested were identified by police as Hugo Sarmiento Vanlid, 24, Ivan Obed Silva, 26, Shane William Sparks, 21, Fernando Chirino, 23, and Kurt Takeshi Isobe, 18.
In that same article, the official spokesperson for the protesting group had quite a different story - completely oposite ALLLL the police officers there:

Jan Tucker, chair of the California Association of Licensed Investigators, said he accompanied state and local leaders of the League of United Latin American Citizens to the talk. He said the atmosphere inside the meeting "was the flip side" of what was happening outside. "It was extremist inside," Tucker said. "The audience was so hostile inside we were afraid to ask questions."

Attendees who were not members of the club were charged $5 and reportedly had to write down their names, addresses and telephone numbers to get inside.

OOOHHHHH. Thats sounds about as terrible as my local PTA meetings or bunco group!!!! Of course you pay if you're not a member of a private club. Geez! That clown thinks it was racist. I, personally, would've charged $500 - might've gotten something out of his self-righteous presence...or deterred it, which would be preferable, anyways.

Tucker said he was not disruptive, but was still asked to leave. After refusing, an officer came over and spoke to him, but Tucker said he still plans to sue the California Coalition for Immigration Reform for allegedly violating his rights "because they tried to get me arrested."

Tucker said members of LULAC were outside demonstrating, but were strictly cautioned to remain non-violent and to refrain from provoking police.

Tucker said none of the people he spoke to after the event mentioned that Netkin's van was surrounded or was being hit, but insisted that he gunned the car at people. Police did not witness the vandalism, and no arrest was made.

Obviously, "his people" didn't listen too well about "remaining non-violent and refraining from provoking police", if they came armed with cans full of marbles to throw!

UPDATE 5/26 00:18:

Here is an emailed report from a female attendee of the MM event that was attacked by protestors (Again, a Hat Tip to 1inchgroup):
*************Emailed report of the meeting from Robin**************

MMP founder Jim Gilchrist CCIR keynote speaker

When we arrived at the CCIR meeting, there were about 60 sidewalk protesters. The police were onsite. Some in riot gear. The protesters brought their bullhorns. Their drums. Their signs.

Media swarmed.

It was daylight when we arrived, which added an element of security. The police had yellow-taped the entire parking lot so that only CCIR attendees could enter. It was well guarded.

Jim Gilchrist gave a spontaneous, rousing, speech. From the heart Which drew many standing ovations. What an inspirational event! Even though, at times the protesters' pitch would rise so high we could hear them inside, Jim defended the protesters' right to assemble.

After the meeting, under the shield of darkness, about 60 protesters raged.

Under a near-full moon, the protesters were rapidly marching in an ellipse on the sidewalk. With bullhorns, frenzied, screaming repeatedly:

"Racist scum go home!"

If that's not hate speech, what is?

I stood transfixed, under the moonlight, as a police helicopter flashed light down on the frenzied protesters. The protesters marched behind police tape, on the sidewalk as well as the taped off driveway exit.

By now it was time for the CCIR 200 or so attendees to exit the parking lot in their vehicles.

Initially, a showing of police attempted to get the frenzied marchers to step away from the driveway as cars were lining up to leave the parking lot. But the protesters screamed at a more fevered pitch, "Racist scum go home," and continued to march in their ellipse that included the driveway. Blocking the exit.

Lined up drivers in their vehicles, were asked by police to turn off their headlights and wait.

First, a line of riot police, attempted to get the protesters to move away from the driveway.

The protesters marched more ferociously. They screamed, "Racist scum go home," as they blocked the exit to the homebound attendees - NOT allowing them to go home.

At this point, about six police officers mounted on beautiful horses carefully strode toward the stubbornly marching protesters. With horse power and riot police, officers were able to slowly and deliberately move protesters away from the driveway.

Mind you, they weren't trying to get the protesters to leave per se, just free up the exit.

Next, the protesters' focus turned away from the CCIR attendees to the police. The street was closed. But now the ferocious yelling targeted the police. Riot police and mounted police contended with the protesters. There was commotion. Howling. Yelling. Screaming.

Then one protester was dragged off, his legs limp, by two policemen in riot gear.

But police in riot gear and mounted on horseback were slowly getting the protesters corralled in the street, freeing up the exit, ringing the protesters, surrounding the protesters with police. The police force worked in tandem - calm, confident and ultimately triumphant.

One of our attendees summed up the scene well - savage.

Vehicles turned on their headlights and cautiously began to exit. We were routed one direction as squad cars, lights blazing, riot police, and mounted police forced the protesters back.

Thank goodness for that police protection! Without it, a rampage would have occurred.

And I ask myself, who was allowed to peacefully assemble at this gathering?

After Minuteman Melee, Protesters Have New Beef:
The man who drove his van into demonstrators outside an event in Garden Grove won't be charged. One activist says that's unfair.

By Jennifer Delson and Mai Tran, Times Staff Writers

Still not able to get ALL the facts straight, another LA Times article again touts the story about a van "hitting" several protestors in a crowd. You can read the whole article, which doesn't give out much new info that I hadn't already posted in the form of updates. But this quote from an attorney who was "flung upon the hood of the vehicle", if you read the rather dramatic comment of a non-witness Indymedia hound (in the comments section of this article), is really pretty funny:

James Lafferty, director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, said he was among those struck by Netkin's van. He said staging protests at Gilchrist's events was necessary, even if it increased his profile. [Riiiiight, 'cuz lawyers never want to increase their profile!]

"I'm glad there were people there saying something [Wednesday night]. We need to have this debate," said Lafferty, who said he was not injured. "We can't just stand and watch this."
I'm thinkin' that lawyer could give lessons of how to get "injured" by a vehicle. I posted my thoughts on this scenario in the comments.

Here's what the LA Times article got right:

The protesters blocked the entrance and tossed soda cans and cans packed with marbles at police and attendees, Handfield said. They kicked, banged and threw rocks at cars; some wore latex gloves and hoods so they wouldn't be identified by police, Handfield said. Some attendees decided not to enter the building because they feared violence.

Some of the protesters paid $5 for admission to the event and alerted protesters outside when attendees were leaving the building.

Arrested were Fernando Chirino, 23, of Irvine; Kurt Isobe, 18, of Laguna Beach; Juan Obed Silva, 26, of Buena Park; Shane Sparks, 21, of Altadena; and Sarmiento Valid, 24, of Los Angeles. They face various charges, including assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, Handfield said.

Lafferty said the arrests were unfair.
Have you ever heard an attorney say an arrest was fair?! Can this guy possibly sound any more like a cliche than this?

Gilchrist and his followers "are mainstreaming hate," Kahn said. "They are creating and disseminating a message of hate. They put these messages into the public and harass and intimidate people.
"Mainstreaming hate?" Who was outside flipping the bird, cursing and screaming, and holding placards blaring "Racists go to hell!" and "Vigilante Terrorists"? Umm... that was your side, dude!
"This movement is gaining national momentum, and we need to build solidarity," Kahn added.
Yes, we can all see that, and that's why we're worried. Because your side does not love America, and your side wants Reconquista. We can all see the momentum you're creating, and the traction your are gaining. It is worrisome to many of us.

For those who need to do something, go to ALIPAC and get busy.
UPDATE 6/2 02:48

Who are the protestors, really? Not really who we thought, but MORE than we thought.

While searching for the "other side" of the story, I saw a telephone number on a number of protest posters on the photos on Heidi's site. I called and got the machine for the LA chapter of "ANSWER Coalition", an anti-war group. Odd. So I Googled the number and found that the same number is apparently used by a variety of left-wing groups such as the Coalition for Equal Marriage Rights Los Angeles and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

My reason for pointing this out is not an attempt at an ad hominem argument. We can disagree about what to do about illegal immigration just as much as I might disagree with some Minuteman/SOS types who hold racist/protectionist/English-only views on the same subject. However, it is hard to approach a subject expecting a credible public argument when one party of the discussion not only turns violent, but ends up apparently being the sort of people who are out protesting everything but sunshine.

Hat tip: Richard at Randomize

Stay tuned as I continue to update...