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May Day march is occupied: Many interests represented at pro-labor march

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, May 01, 2012, at 05:18PM
Hayley Fox/blogdowntown

This man from Venice Beach refers to himself as "Nowhere Man" -- he's been part of the occupy movement since it's inception, he said. Here he stands in front of one of the many masses of police.

Tuesday's May Day march through Downtown L.A. included a converging of many different interest groups; from LGBT, to immigrant's rights, anti-Arizona factions and a heavy concentration of "Occupy" protesters.

Shawn Haymaker, an 18-year-old from Oxnard, was holding a Guy Fawkes mask and hanging out in the Occupy camp on Main Street, where volunteers were serving free food and giving out clothing.

Haymaker said he came to the rally because he's "sick of the rich screwing everyone over."

"By the time I retire I'm not going to have a pension, I'm not going to have social security -- I'm not going to have the social policies that my grandparents had," he said. "I don't want to work at McDonalds when I'm 60 because I've retired and have no money left."

Most people began to trickle in for the pro-labor rally around 12:30 or 1 p.m., and groups began to march by 2:30. There were vans and trucks carrying speakers blasting music, masses of people holding signs and shouting through megaphones.

The mass that originated on Olympic and Broadway were led by a large group carrying a "LegalizaciĆ³n Ahora" ("Legalization Now") sign.

"I'm here proving that we're all the same," said marcher Stephanie Avelar. "We came here to work and have a better future. We didn't come here to steal anything from you guys. We're proving were just as equal as everyone else."

Maria Roman, a transgender woman from Hollywood, was holding a sign that said "For my transgender sisters" and marching down Broadway. She said she was out there supporting immigrants' rights, so they would support her cause as well.

Many of the rally's participants got creative and artistic with their involvement, Daniel Gonzalez, who designed one of Metro's new Expo line stops, had handcrafted large puppet signs to reflect what he thought of America. He said he came to the rally to join the rest of the "true patriots" who were fighting for worker's rights and opportunity for all.

John Wellington Ennis, 39, designed an enormous Monopoly game board that he set up at the intersection of 6th Street and Broadway. Instead of Boardwalk and St. Charles Places, squares were called things like "Citizens United," "Supreme Court" and "Pharma Lobby."

"One of the things we all grew up with is a monopoly mindset and its the idea that it's okay for one person to have all the money while they drive everyone else into bankruptcy," said Ennis.

Marchers originated from four different starting locations and were expected to converge near Pershing Square this evening.


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