Pasco, Wash. — Within days after farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes was killed by Pasco police, his murder was seen by over 1.6 million people on a YouTube video. Viewers saw an unarmed man, his hands raised in the air much like Michael Brown’s hands last summer in Ferguson, Mo., and three Pasco cops gunning him down in a hail of bullets.
There have been many community protests since that Feb. 10 day. More than 1,000 people marched in Pasco on Feb. 14, calling for justice for Zambrano-Montes. On Feb. 18, separate solidarity protests were held in Portland, Ore., and in Seattle, where demonstrators marched and blocked traffic throughout the downtown area. These two major cities are each a little more than 200 miles from Pasco, which is located in the southeastern part of Washington state.
Here in Pasco on Feb. 21, demonstrators took over the huge cable bridge crossing the Columbia River after marching through central Pasco for two hours chanting, “We are all Antonio!” and “Justice now!” There were farmworkers, many carrying the flag of the United Farm Workers Union. The mainly Latino/a marchers rallied on both sides of the Franklin County Hall in Pasco. Then the march went to the cable bridge, which demonstrators blocked for over an hour by moving slowly. Cars honked in support throughout the day.
Zambrano-Montes’ house had burned down two weeks before he was murdered, traumatizing the person who was to become another victim of police violence. The government could have provided him with housing. But instead, the state murdered him with 13 bullets. His plight represents that of all immigrant workers who are cheated for their labor and then met with the greatest hostility by a racist government acting lawlessly. n