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Los Angeles demands “Close the camps”

By Jared Hamil |
October 18, 2019
People gather in Grand Park in downtown LA to demand "Close the camps."
People gather in Grand Park in downtown LA to demand "Close the camps." People gather in Grand Park in downtown LA to demand "Close the camps."

Los Angeles, CA - On October 12, hundreds of people gathered downtown to demand Trump’s concentration camps be closed. Many organizations and labor unions came together including NDLON Day Labor Organizing Centers and MEChA de CSULA with a clear message, “Close the camps.” October 12 was a national day of action in which multiple cities participated.

Speakers included a representative from the teachers union – UTLA. Another speaker, Sol Marquez of Centro CSO, said, “We need to call them what they are - concentration camps. The U.S. has a long history of using concentration camps, they did it to Japanese-Americans and they’re doing it now. We need to close these camps everywhere, not just in L.A. or near the border. And we have to stand in solidarity with Central American refugees. The U.S. destabilizes their governments and economies, forcing them to take dangerous journeys, only to be locked up once they get here. Close the camps.”

The crowd marched in the streets to the Hall of Justice, office of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. They chanted, “El pueblo, unido, jamas será vencido!” The crowd then marched onto the steps of the building and heard from a few more speakers demanding that Sheriff Villanueva stop any cooperation with ICE at the jails. Black Lives Matter speaker Greg Akili also denounced District Attorney Jackie Lacey for not prosecuting killer cops. After the speakers, people performed a mock die-in symbolizing the dozens of immigrants and refugees who have died in the camps, including six children. As they read each of the names of the people who died, a person in the crowd would fall to the ground, symbolizing their deaths.

The crowd marched on to the Federal Metropolitan Detention Center, where many immigrants are held. They continued chanting, “Close the camps!” And “Policia, la Migra! La misma porqueria!” Hundreds gathered in front of the building. Marquez declared, “Trump in the White House hasn’t made the situation for immigrants, refugees, nor oppressed nationalities any easier. He’s inciting vigilantes to come after Chicanos at Walmarts, or Border Patrol agents to shoot into crowds of people. We must remain strong and keep building the fight to protect each other. We outnumber the rich, and they can’t stop us all.”

Centro CSO is an endorser of the “Legalization for All” call and marched with a banner that read, “Legalización para todos, lucha contra Trump” or “Legalization for all, fight against Trump.”

Centro CSO meets every third Wednesday of the month, 6 p.m., at Benjamin Franklin Library in Boyle Heights. Their contact information is 323-943-2030, [email protected], facebook.com/CentroCSO

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