This story has been floating around the neighborhood all day. It appears to have first appeared on IndyMedia last night.
LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2004 - At 7:50 PM two armored tanks showed up at an anti-war protest in front of the federal building in Westwood. The tanks circled the block twice, the second time parking themselves in the street and directly in front of the area where most of the protesters were gathered. Enraged, some of the people attempted to block the tanks, but police quickly cleared the street. The people continued to protest the presence of the tanks, but about ten minutes the tanks drove off. It is unclear as to why the tanks were deployed to this location.
Tanks? People who viewed the video identified them as Marine Corps LAV-25 armored personnel vehicles, or, as we civilians call them "tanks." One commenter at IndyMedia claims they were from Camp Pendleton coming into town for a Veteran's Day Parade. They got lost getting off the freeway, saw a crowd, and stopped to ask for directions. That's plausible, but still a very unlikely coincidence. So far, no mainstream media has looked into it, so we just have blogger speculation.
The paranoid on the left--and we have reason to be paranoid after this election--see another Tianenman Square in the making, or at least a return to the late sixties and the use of massive force by the authorities to squelch any dissent. Whether or not it was a mere coincidence that tanks showed up at an anti-war protest a week after Bush's re-election, this has had a bad effect on the level of trust between the authorities and the opposition. It would be in the interests of the LA authorities if they would look into this and issue a statement. Silence is threatening.
On a side note, it's interesting to see how the wingers reacted to this. Along with the usual accusations of fraud and conspiracy-mongering and the creepy eliminationist sentiment, there was this odd comment at IndyMedia:
Looks to me like somebody decided to buzz the sheep to see what the 'brave' ones like you would do.
Apparently it's okay for members of the military to help themselves to highly destructive and very expensive equipment and use it for practical jokes and to press forward their personal political agenda. Perhaps Tianenman Square isn't the name that should be springing to mind, but perhaps Freikorps is.