A few hundred Santa Ana residents and local supporters marched through the downtown district Thursday afternoon during a yearly action in commemoration of May Day, also known as “International Workers’ Day.”
The annual march has been a Santa Ana tradition for over a decade and attracts various collectives and organizations that focus on various social struggles ranging from “immigration reform,” education, the prison industrial complex, and police brutality.
This year’s action began with a rally at “Black Panther Park” located in the W Santa Ana Blvd and N Ross St intersection. Many participants fought the near-one hundred-degree heat and arrived equipped with signs, artwork, and banners reflecting their respective issues.
A march then took shape shortly after 3 p.m. as the group mobilized north down Ross St. Scattered chants began to gain strength and fill the street as the march turned west onto Civic Center Dr at the N Ross St intersection.
Once on the intersection, it was apparent that organizations had coordinated a route with Santa Ana police prior to the action as participants began assembling on the street. Motorcycle officers then escorted the march through both lanes of W Civic Center Dr, a stark contrast to last year’s action when a march of over five hundred participants took over N Bristol St and W 17th St, only to be confronted by Santa Ana officers.
During last year’s demonstration, officers stormed 17th St in an attempt to halt the action. Motorcycle mounted officers flooded the street, which was abundant with families marching together, with high powered sirens and some officers were witnessed striking participants with their motorcycles.
This year, tension between some participants and police erupted again when a motorcycle-mounted officer struck a demonstrator. The officer fell to the ground and the march participant was handcuffed and escorted out in a squad vehicle.
“I saw the whole thing,” explained a witness, “The guy was walking. The motorcycle cop came up to him, hit him, and then dropped his motorcycle.”
“I was right behind the cop,” described Maria Lozoya, who also witnessed the event, “The cop just went and ran him over, and then he fell on the side. I’m standing right there with the baby - like, what the hell? So that’s just abuse.”
The march regrouped next to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department headquarters on Flower St, and then continued without incident for the remainder of the event. The Santa Ana Police Department Mounted Unit, however, closely trailed the march and patrol vehicles blocked off opposing traffic.
The event concluded with another rally at the action’s starting point.
The arrestee was shortly released.