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Center Column Archives
The U.S. District Court in San Jose has thrown out the indictment of four animal rights activists who were charged with violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, because the government did not clearly explain what, exactly, the protesters did. The case is not over, however. The government can still re-indict the defendants with an amended bill of particulars that clearly outlines their alleged actions.
San José residents report that during Cinco de Mayo celebrations this year police conducted daytime checkpoints, issuing numerous citations and arresting Latino drivers. They diverted cars from the downtown area, effectively evacuating the city center and shutting down street celebrations for two nights. Many residents are wondering how the city can afford thousands of hours of police overtime pay for extreme enforcement actions on Cinco de Mayo while the city faces a budget crisis.
Saturday, May 1st
is May Day, or International Workers Day. The Bay Area observed the holiday with celebrations, marches, rallies, and street parties. Events on Saturday included rallies, marches, and demonstrations for immigrant and workers rights in San Francisco, Watsonville, the East Bay, Fresno, Modesto, and San Jose. Celebrations and street parties were held in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Oakland.
Roger Mentch, founding member of The Hemporium, a Santa Cruz County medical marijuana collective located in Felton, has been met with more resistance. Santa Clara County recently incarcerated Mentch, as well as Laura Eldridge, a disabled patient. Mentch spent five months behind bars at Elmwood Jail in Milpitas. He has been out of state custody since August 2009, and his next court date is scheduled on Friday, March 19th
in San Jose. Mentch argues that he has been the victim of entrapment by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Three pioneers of the Free Gaza Movement received city and congressional awards for their humanitarian work last month. The city of Milpitas, one of the country's largest locations of computer equipment manufacturing and software programming, was represented by Vice Mayor Pete McHugh. The public ceremony was sponsored by the San José Peace and Justice Center.
On Saturday, February 6
, a rally in support of the Iranian people and marking the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution will be held at 1pm at the Plaza De Cesar Chavez in San Jose. "The Iranian Revolution of 1979 stopped short of establishing a democratic government," say event organizers. "But today, after enduring more than three decades of renewed repression, Iranians are protesting once again to complete a mission that was left unfinished."
Raj Jayadev writes:
"On Oct. 24, the San Jose Mercury News released the video of a San Jose State math major getting beaten and tased by the San Jose Police Department in his home on Sept. 3, 2009. Police were called to the scene after 20-year-old Phuong Ho allegedly wielded a knife during an altercation with his roommate. All the viewer can hear, in between groaning cries of pain and calls for mercy, are the cracking sounds of the batons as they meet 20-year-old Phuong Ho’s head and body, and the torturous zapping of a Taser gun. It is, in a word, disturbing."