15 Sep 2014
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May Day Marchers Get Started in Santa Monica

Occupy L.A. organized a 'May 1 Four Winds/General Strike' event involving four caravans converging on downtown from Santa Monica, Carson, San Fernando Valley and Monterey Park.

was one of four staging areas Tuesday morning for Occupy L.A.'s "May 1 Four Winds/General Strike" that would later converge in downtown.

The annual day of celebration for the international labor movement drew about 200 supporters of a variety of causes as broad as economic inequality to Santa Monica. The event involved four caravans meeting at different points across the region. Other staging areas included Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, at Panorama High School in the San Fernando Valley, at Cesar Chavez and Atlantic Avenue in Monterey Park.

The marchers who met at Wilshire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue were of all ages, but mostly members of Occupy Venice. Others were union members, workers and immigrant-rights activists.

"The whole country, it's unequal and it's not fair," said 16-year-old Dante Park of Culver City.

One participant who convened with the so-called West Wind in Santa Monica was Nancy Woodruff, a registered nurse who travelled several hundred miles from her home in Eugene, OR. She has participated in numerous Occupy protests, including in Washington D.C. and has carried the same quilted banner to each one.

"As a nurse and union member, I always want to stand up for workers' rights," she said. "Plus, I like to see how many cities I can get my banner to."

Cyclists embarked from Palisades Park toting red balloons and cars were plastered in paper signs. They honked their horns as they moved slowly out of Santa Monica city limits along Wilshire Boulevard.

One truck bed carried an Uncle Sam dummy in a coffin. Other signs read, "stop foreclosures;" "LAPD: stop terrorizing the homeless;" and "make the 1 percent pay their fair share." Those without rides hopped aboard a charter bus.

They departed from Palisades Park shortly before 11 a.m. and were scheduled to make several stops in Westwood and Beverly Hills to pick up other Occupiers and marchers before their final destination.

The North Wind demonstrators marched to the Van Nuys Civil Center, and
along the way, they urged Panorama High School students to join them—but there were no takers, KNX-1070 reported.

The South Wind caravan was to be joined by a "feeder march" organized by Rise Up L.A. to protest the "Prison Industrial Complex" and commemorate "the beginning of the L.A Rebellion." It started at Florence and Normandie, the flashpoint of the riots that devastated the city 20 years ago this week.

Around noon, protesters were scheduled to gather at 41st Street and Central Avenue, then head to Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard before staging a 2:30 p.m. rally at Sixth and Main streets. A larger rally is planned at 7 p.m. at Pershing Square.

"Right now I think the community needs to come together and start asking the right questions, asking where all this money for the bailouts went, asking if we gave bailouts to big banks why are we still in the current situation that we're at," Jamie Garcia of Occupy L.A. told reporters.

"We're asking why does a lot of our money get funded to wars. We're asking why does our money get funded to police officers when it'd be [right] to give this money to health, to give it to education. This is what makes the community calm. This is what makes the community peaceful. This is the way a community comes together," Garcia continued.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

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