May Day March in Downtown Oakland

1 May

I was feeling a bit guilty today for not making it out to the May Day march, as I’ve done in years past, but I got lucky because just as I left work and crossed the street at 14th and Webster, two cops on motorcycles parked in the middle of the crosswalk. I looked east and saw a huge group of people walking towards me and could hear the chanting. They were led by a Teamsters truck:

There were literally thousands of people following, chanting in English and Spanish about worker and immigrant rights.

I followed as the crowd moved down 14th toward Broadway, until I got distracted by a few people with cases of water bottles handing water to the crowd. Then I saw that the water was coming from this van:

I have to say, I think this was a smart campaign move by Mario Juarez, who’s running against De La Fuente for Oakland City Council. I was surprised not to see a presence by any of the other city council candidates, though there were thousands of people there so I could have missed someone.

When we reached the corner of Broadway and 14th, I stepped up to the platform near the BART stairs and finally saw that the crowd reached on and on, for several blocks. My cell phone photos don’t do justice to the overwhelming size of the crowd, but it’ll give you some idea of what it was like…

Several police cars had blocked off the intersection at 14th and Broadway, which at 6pm caused quite a back up in traffic. The intersection must have been closed for about 15 minutes, as the crowd moved towards City Hall:

At that point, I stopped taking pictures, but I did get to enjoy the music of the Extra Action Marching Band and a group of native American dancers and drummers that rounded off the end of the march.

I hopped on my bus to get home a few minutes later and left feeling inspired and at least a little less guilty.

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