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US report: Los Angeles, Beverly Hills

Mayday report from Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills

About 200 "yuppie shoppers," "office workers," the Super Hero Marching Band and other protesters reclaimed Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills and stopped business as usual in L.A.'s mecca of decadence and consumerism.

The worldwide Carnival Against Capitalism came to Beverly Hills on May 1st, 2000 to mark the last street party before the sun set on Mayday 2000. We began to gather at 3pm at a park a block away from Rodeo Dr. The police had been waiting for us with riot squads, undercovers, and the most police SUVs I've ever seen in that area. The TV news vans were also there and so were their helicopters hovering above. We began to march toward Rodeo around 4pm behind a huge banner that read "Capitalism Stole My Life." The participants of the carnival consisted of people from various walks of life, including "passive consumers" wearing blindfolds that read CONSUMER following a businessman with fake hundred dollar bills, puppets, anti-capitalist warriors with shields and monkey wrenches, anti-fur activists and a brass marching band of superheros in capes that provided a lively soundtrack to the active disruptions that would soon follow.

The procession down Rodeo Dr. was marked by your all-time favorite stores such as Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Ralph Lauren, Ferrari, Gucci, Fendi...etc. Basically companies that use sweatshop labor and/or European clothing/goods stores (with $1400 handbags and $800 tennis shoes, just to give you an idea) and lots of jewelry stores. Many shoppers and store workers were caught in the middle of their mindless consumption and were handed flyers that explained the history and the significance of Mayday, the Haymarket Affair, and the practice of using sweatshop labor by many of the stores in the area. Some lucky shoppers were even handed gifts - Banana Republic and Tommy Hilfiger gift boxes nicely wrapped with wrapping paper and packed with manure and cards that read MADE IN SWEATSHOPS among many other things - for their true dedication in keeping Beverly Hills what it is.

The procession was kept mobile and occasionally took over intersections while shouting, "Who's Streets? Our Streets!" TVs and other consumer appliances were left in the middle of the intersections as we moved on to the next one while the cops did our job of blocking off the streets for us. At certain points, a gold dollar statue was placed in the middle of intersections while being worshipped by shoppers and businessmen alike, bowing down to their all-powerful money god. After a while, someone brought out the yarn and people took part in weaving the intersections, color co-ordinated in rainbow colors.

The police eventually grabbed one "shopper" towards the end for getting too carried away in her shopping spree by skipping in front of traffic with a bunch of shopping bags. The procession then marched towards the police station only a couple of blocks away to demand her release. Many stayed as our Mayday party was winding down to seek freedom for our fellow "shopper." As some people were leaving, the police grabbed a person who they assumed was the "leader" of the event and singled out two other people from the crowd. They also confiscated our golden money god for being "used in criminal activity" or something like that.

Jail support for four people who were arrested continued into the night. Three of them were released that night and there was only one person left in there who should be out by now according to latest reports. We have lots of video footage from this event and will put them up on mayday.indymedia.org as soon as possible. Cheers.

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