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Police Militarize Downtown Fresno on Cesar Chavez Day
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
Friday Mar 31st, 2006 2:43 PM
Downtown Fresno was a police zone on Friday. Hundreds of students were prevented from reaching City Hall by police in squad cars, on horse back, motorcycles, and on foot. The students were told if they reached City Hall, they would not be arrested or detained. What the police didn’t tell the students is that they would be prevented from reaching City Hall. This is the first of two reports that will be posted today. Detentions and or arrests are still being made as this report is being written.
Police Militarize Downtown Fresno on Cesar Chavez Day
By Mike Rhodes

Community and student leaders were told on Thursday, by the Fresno Police Department (FPD), that students who walked out of class on Friday and ended up at City Hall would not be arrested or detained.. What they were not told was that students would not be allowed to reach city hall. The FPD’s primary strategy was to prevent students from walking off their campuses.

There was a patrol car or motorcycle on every corner around most high schools this morning. Whenever a small group of students would gather at Fresno High, before school started this morning, they would be confronted by school administrators or the police and told to go inside the gates. I witnessed an incident where 5 or 6 students were confronted by a motorcycle officer who demanded to know why they were not in school. They were forced to go to school. Once the students were inside, the gates were locked and police stood guard on the outside. School security and administrators monitored the inside perimeter of the fences.

At one point about 150 students at Fresno High left their classes but could not get off the campus. The teachers were told to lock their doors so the students could not return to class. But, the students could not get off campus either, as the police guarded all exits and would mass at spot where the students would try to climb the fence.

Meanwhile, students from some middle and high schools found their way downtown. A group of about 150 gathered in Courthouse Park and attempted to march down the Mariposa Mall to City Hall, where they believed they would be safe and not arrested. As the students came to “N” street, which is about 2 blocks from City Hall, they were confronted by patrol cars with their lights flashing, police on bicycles, and officers from the Gang Suppression Unit of the FPD (MAGIC). The students were told that they would not be allowed to move any further toward City Hall and were forced to return to Courthouse Park.

This group of students, many of who came from Tehipite Middle School, decided to march to the Convention Center where they heard there was a event taking place honoring Cesar Chavez. The students, who now numbered between 150-200, marched to the Convention Center. When they arrived they were confronted with a group of security guards who told them they would not be allowed to enter the convention center to participate in the celebration. The students were forced to stay on the sidewalk and then decided to march to Roosevelt High School. I left the students as they headed down Ventura Street, on their way to Roosevelt High. I later heard they were surrounded by police and arrested.

Events are still unfolding and I will have more information to add to this story this evening.
§Fresno Police Turn March Around
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 2:43 PM
All photos by Mike Rhodes
§Students Head For the Convention Center
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 2:43 PM
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Friday Mar 31st, 2006 2:43 PM
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
the lowdownlowdownTuesday Apr 4th, 2006 8:36 AM
Guess Chief Dyer needs to feel like a big manRitaSaturday Apr 1st, 2006 8:03 PM
LLSaturday Apr 1st, 2006 1:42 PM
The Fresno Police have IssuesMichael AudeloFriday Mar 31st, 2006 7:06 PM
Thanks Mike...Friday Mar 31st, 2006 6:51 PM

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