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Rallies support activists targeted by FBI

Published Jun 23, 2011 9:52 PM

Carlos Montes, June 16.
Photo: Robert Stuart Lowden/LA Indymedia


Social justice activists held a militant protest in front of the Alhambra Court House in Los Angeles County June 16 at the hearing for Carlos Montes. The Chicano activist faces charges that arose from a 5 a.m. raid by Los Angeles County sheriffs and the FBI on May 17.

Mirroring recent FBI raids against anti-war and solidarity activists in the Midwest, political documents, computers and cell phones were confiscated from Montes, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. FRSO has been the primary target of the FBI raids for participating in legal international solidarity actions.

International Action Center organizer Scott Scheffer, who attended the hearing, told Workers World: “We could hear the protest outside loud and clear and it seemed that the cops and judge were trying to appear to be extra nice, asking Carlos if he needed anything and saying they don’t want any problems and just wanted to move things along smoothly.”

In spite of the friendly tone by the court staff, Montes now faces six additional felony charges. He received a court continuance for July 7.

When Montes came out of the court, he was greeted with chants to drop the charges and cheers of admiration. He told supporters and the media: “They took documents going back 40 years involving the Chicano movement, the immigrant rights movement and more. Now they are trying to throw the book at me. But I’m smiling because I see you all here.”

Montes explained that when he asked for copies of their charges, the district attorney at first refused, but was forced to relinquish redacted copies, per instructions from the judge.

“This is part of the attacks nationally by the FBI in which my name was mentioned in their warrants. This is a political attack against our strong stand denouncing U.S. warmongering and intervention in Colombia, Mexico and against the U.S. support of the Israeli government that is oppressing Palestinian people.

“July 7 at 9 a.m. we’ll be here again — we must keep the pressure on Eric Holder and the grand jury, call him and sign the online petition,” Montes said.


Chants of “Solidarity is not a crime, from Colombia to Palestine” reverberated off towering federal building walls in the Oakland, Calif., City Center during rush hour on June 16.

More than 14 demonstrations were held across the country to protest the ongoing grand jury witchhunt against solidarity activist communities in this country. Today’s protests marked the first court appearance of subpoenaed Chicano activist Carlos Montes in Los Angeles.

“The FBI and the Department of Justice have now brought this attack home to California with the arrest of Carlos, and we will not tolerate being bullied into silence by the federal government,” said Corina Pedraza, a member of the Bay Area Committee to Stop FBI Repression, which organized today’s demonstration. “We will protest and continue to speak out for our rights to organize,” Pedraza added.

The FBI began its latest blatant harassment of social justice activists in September 2010, when it raided the homes of seven Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul activists and the offices of the Minneapolis- St. Paul Anti-War Committee. After seizing a voluminous amount of books, computers, personal papers, newspapers and even children’s art, 23 activists were subpoenaed and called before the grand jury.

Montes, a member of Freedom Socialist Road Organization and a long-time activist for immigrant rights and Chicano liberation in Southern California, was the most recent victim of an early-morning SWAT team raid by armed policemen on May 17.

Monadel Herzallah of the U.S. Palestinian Communities Network charged that the FBI is leading an “attack on the Arab and Muslim community. We are here today to support Carlos Montes and to say that we won’t be used as scapegoats to crush civil rights movements for justice.”

Richard Brown of the San Francisco 8, a group of ex-Black Panther Party members who were targeted by the FBI and grand jury for their anti-racist organizing, challenged the crowd to keep organizing to fight repression. “Never cooperate with the FBI,” Brown stated.

The Bay Area Committee to Stop FBI Repression is organizing community meetings and other events in support of all the subpoenaed activists and against continued FBI harassment of political movements. For more information, go to www. stopfbi.net.


As part of the national day of solidarity with Carlos Montes and the other 23 international solidarity activists raided by the FBI since September 2010, protesters came out to Milwaukee’s Federal Courthouse June 16. Chants included, “Stop the grand juries,” and, “From Colombia to Palestine: Solidarity is not a crime.” Members of SDS Milwaukee, Committee To Stop FBI Repression, International Action Center, Latin American Solidarity Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association-AFT, Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, Welfare Warriors and Workers World Party participated.