LOS ANGELES, August 16—The Queers and Allies march, fueled on the principle that an “injury to one is injury to all,” began with a kiss-in at Pershing Square and ended in front of the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, where the marchers lay down for a die-in. Surprising the peaceful crowd, the LAPD surrounded the marchers, trapping them in an intersection. The cops then began hut-hutting into formation, in what has become a typical display of excessive intimidation.
The more than 1000 demonstrators had made their way from Pershing Square, stopping for moments of silence and to raise rainbow flags in memory of loved ones killed in hate crimes. The die-in outside police headquarters was the third moment of silence. As the marchers lay down in a circle, Black Bloc anarchists—some wearing gas masks—linked arms and formed a tight cluster around the group. Cops then circled the entire crowd, cutting off all exits. Overhead, the drone of helicopters escalated as the scene grew tense.
A rumor had swept around that the Black Bloc planned an action at Parker Place, the jail where some of their compadres may have been held. Queers & Allies leaders and Black Bloc members began negotiating furiously, while other organizers begged the media to focus not on street conflicts, but on the issues. “How many people have to die before the politicans pay attention?” shouted one parade marshal.
Police herded the angry marchers onto the sidewalk, while organizers and cops negotiated for a mutually acceptable exit. The Black Bloc decided among themselves to break formation, taking off their gas masks, removing their shirts, and disappearing into the crowd. The police ordered the marchers escorted back to Pershing Square. “For our protection,” sneered one protester.
At each intersection the marchers were met by a fleet of LAPD cars and lines of baton-gripping police. “This is not democracy,” the crowd chanted. “Looks like martial law to me.”