repost from http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20071218195547145
On December 16th, 2007, the show that was part of the Southern California Anarchist Conference at a community space called El Centro de Accion Popular in Boyle Heights.
From the beginning of the show there was police monitoring the event. Two helicopters passed by the Centro and circled the center shining their light down on the parking lot and the top window of the warehouse. Hours later, two black-and-white cars came to ask that the cars that were double parked be moved (and people moved them).
Half an hour later about six black-and-white police cars and more than 10 police officers from the Hollenbeck Police Department (as well as a Union Police truck -- the center is across the street from a Union Police Station) showed up at the door asking to come in to see how many people were in the warehouse. The officer in charge, Sergent Gutierrez, was insistent that he be let in without a warrant to see how many people were inside the event. The organizers were forced to make a quick decision, so to protect the space and the people at the event we said we wouldn't let them inside.
The police then called the fire department to come in and see if they can shut down the event. The fire department showed up and came inside the event along with the LAPD. The fire department called a fire inspector to come to see if they can shut down the event. Fire inspector Hernandez also came into the space taking pictures with his digital camera and then called the chief of the fire department to make the decision. Chief Clemons showed up minutes later to say that the event had to be canceled due to a fire hazard. The space does not have a door at the back of the building so they said they are not allowed to have any sort of events there in the future. They are not allowed to have more than 10 people, if they violate this they will be fined. The organizers had to explain to Clemons that it is a community space safe for children in the community so they wouldn't condemn the building.
This was an act of state repression, and that is clear. The LAPD was looking for any excuse to shut the event down, and to attack the community center. First they came because of the parking. They couldn't say it was a noise violation because the space is not near a residential area. So they try to say that the space is a commercial building and it's not fit to have shows, according to Pig Gutierrez.
There was also a detective in civilian clothes who came out from across the street from an abandoned building, who was watching to see who was coming in and out of the event. When we took a picture of him, he asked if we have ever been to the space before, and he said he had seen us there before. This shows that the police have been watching the space for a while now. They used the Southern California Anarchist show as an excuse to attack the work of the Centro.
The Centro de Accion Popular has English classes for the community and does community, educational, and cultural events out of the center. They will not be able to do all that anymore until we are able to make the space "fire safe" and add another door in the rear. They had an event scheduled for Saturday, December 22nd to commemorate the massacre in Acteal, Chiapas, but that will have to be moved (more information on location later - either at the East Side Cafe in El Sereno where another event for Acteal is scheduled earlier or the SpaceArk Gallery in Highland Park). They are also looking for a space to use.
We need to defend the Centro de Accion Popular. There will be a show organized in January to raise funds for expenses that are needed for the Centro to reopen (put on by the Organizing Collective of the Southern California Anarchist Conference).
El Comite de Pro-Democracia en Mexico (an organization that runs El Centro de Accion Popular) can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com