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Alvarado Street vendors protest LAPD crackdown

By Carlos Montes |
December 18, 2011
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Alvarado Street vendors protest police harassment.
Alvarado Street vendors protest police harassment. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Alvarado Street vendors protest at LAPD Ramparts December 16.
Alvarado Street vendors protest at LAPD Ramparts December 16.

Los Angeles, CA - Vendors protested a new police crackdown on street vendors on Alvarado and 6th Streets, Dec. 16. The vendors gathered in front of Metro Station on Alvarado Street. Carrying posters and chanting, they marched to the Los Angeles Police Department Ramparts Division, amid cheers from onlookers.

Alvarado Street vendors are harassed by the L.A. County Sheriffs who use threats and ticket. Now the LAPD has started harassing the vendors.

LAPD Ramparts cops have recently started a crackdown on street vendors who sell tasty food, clothes and toys on sidewalks to survive. The Westlake/ MacArthur Park community, where the vendors work, has a high unemployment rate for undocumented immigrants - most of who come from Central American and Mexico. Many are single women with children who rely on vending for survival. For many, vending is the only source of income to survive. Street vending is common in México and Central America.

The vendors face harsh racist conditions in L.A., with unemployment, no or low income, bad housing, lack of health care, overcrowded schools and constant police harassment.

The vendors demands were heard loud and clear: “We are workers, not criminals! Stop the harassment, leave us alone, we want justice and we want it now, we demand respect.”

The LAPD has allowed vending on 6th Street between Union and Alvarado Streets for over a year, due to the rebellion by the Guatemalan community following the police killing of Manuel Jamines on Sept. 5, 2010. Jamines was a Guatemalan Mayan worker forced to leave his country due to the extreme poverty and violence caused by U.S. imperialism in Central America.

Carlos Montes is a CSO (Community Service Organization) organizer. For more information: www.csosite.org

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