Very Civil Disobedience

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a protest this afternoon near LAX that I fear will snarl up my ride home. This afternoon, 1,000 to 2,000 marchers will gather in support of efforts to organize the mostly immigrant, nonunion workers employed at 13 hotels near the airport.

Here’s the interesting part. 400 will be arrested. How do I know this number? The Los Angeles Police Department has been involved at nearly every stage, advising organizers on how to proceed without endangering public safety. In fact, about 400 marchers have signed forms, in advance, pledging to be arrested; they have taken a mandatory class that has taught them how to remain calm even when screamed at or insulted. The driver’s license numbers and other personal information of those volunteer arrestees have already been passed on to the LAPD to expedite processing (although LAPD sent word that six of the volunteers should rethink their participation–though no official reason was given, the six may have outstanding warrants). Unite Here Local 11, which represents hotel workers in Southern California, has arranged for parking, storage of the arrestees’ car keys, lawyers to defend them, crews to clean up after the event and vans to pick up the protesters from jail. Upon release from jail, expected within 24 hours, each protester will receive a meal (burritos and bottles of water) and a souvenir (their protest sign reading “I Am A Human Being”).

The Times is touting the unprecedented level of cooperation. Me? I just find this weird.