125 arrested in Long Beach May Day protest

The Associated Press
Wednesday May 02, 2001

LONG BEACH — May Day protesters rushed a police line and threw rocks and bottles at officers Tuesday, leading to 125 arrests when the group refused to disperse, authorities said. 

Police in riot gear fired rubber bullets or bean bags at the demonstrators after they charged the police line, police spokeswoman Nancy Tabing said. 

Some of the thrown bottles were filled with feces and urine, she said. There were numerous protesters from a variety of groups, Tabing said. The largest contingent was from a group called the Southern California Anarchist Alliance. 

The protesters carried banners and signs and shouted slogans. 

“They’re observing May Day. I guess this is their way to observe it,” Tabing said. 

The protest was among many around the globe marking the international worker day. 

Another group of May Day marchers gathered west of downtown Los Angeles in Koreatown shortly before 6 p.m. to call for better treatment of immigrants and a new immigrant legalization program. They planned a rally in MacArthur Park. The Long Beach protest disrupted traffic near the shoreline convention complex. 

“It was mass mayhem. They were being stupid,” said Victor Reed, 23, who watched the protest. “As far as what they’re protesting I don’t know. They came in to Long Beach to protest something and cause mayhem,” said fire Capt. Mike Garcia. 

The protesters did not have a permit, and were warned they would be arrested if they did not disperse, Tabing said.  

She said they could face a variety of charges likely including unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor. The protesters gathered in the promenade area about 3 p.m., and police began making arrests around 4:30 p.m., Tabing said. 

Paramedics were on hand but there were no immediate reports of injuries. 

Many of the demonstrators were surrounded outside the Breakers retirement home. 

“My residents are safe,” said Jacie Tallon, executive director of the home.