Friday, December 07, 2007

First Photos of the Unity March

3000 Saipan residents took to the streets yesterday afternoon to protest P.L. 15-108, H.R. 3079, and Brad Ruszala's blog.

The March started at Kilili Beach, which is about three miles south of the rallying point. The marcher's walked along the Saipan Beach Path, about 2 or 3 abreast and stretching out for about 600 meters, until they reached the intersection of Quartermaster and Beach Road.

From there they tucked in behind the motorcade of protest vehicles and marched the rest of the way in the northbound lane of Beach Road.

Front of the parade: Tina Sablan, her boyfriend Glen, and Federal Omsbudmen Jim Benedetto lead the march in the beginning.

The Big Cheese: She's from Orlando, I couldn't help myself. Wendy Doromal flew out from Florida to join the March.

Hey, Mom, I'm on Angelo's blog!: Mark Hanson and Jim Davies were at the march.

Here are some more pictures of marchers. I took these photos right at the start of the parade:

marchersProtestersmarchers in Susupetruck protestAs the parade progressed along Beach Road, it picked up participants waiting for them along the side of the road. Small groups of 5-10 people were there waiting with their white T-shirts and anti-Labor Law stickers and signs.

People waiting on the side of the streetI can see the parade: Some of the marchers waited along the side of the road for the parade, then they joined in.

Saipan March ParticipantsUnity March coming down Beach RoadLong shot: Boonieman asked for a picture of the marchers on the road. Here it is. The parade of marchers was about 600 meters long (measured with my scooter's odometer) when they were walking along the Beach Path, but bunched up when they started walking along the road.

The parade ended at American Memorial Park. All of the participants piled into the 1200 person capacity Amphitheater and just as the band was about to begin entertaining the crowd, it started to rain.

That's when I left.

All in all, there was a very good turnout.

Estimating crowds is alway controversial. Really the only way to accurately do it is to sign everybody in. That is difficult, but not impossible.

In the end, it doesn't matter how many people showed up. What matters now is what those people who showed up do now that they are organized.

Even so, I overhead Wendy Doromal telling Steve Woodruff that she thought 5000 people attended. A local businessman I know who was sitting in the crowd guessed about 2400 (he asked not to be identified). Ron Hodges was in the 2000-3000 range. A local attorney, you asked not to be identified told me that 3000 would be at the high end of his estimate. The Middleroad bloggers are guessing 6000. Federal Omsbudman Jim Benedetto estimated 5000-6000. The Saipan Tribune wrote that 6000 people attended. Tina Sablan's boyfriend, Glen Hunter, is guessing between 6000-7000. Co-event organizer Ed Probst's guess is 10,000*.

My guess would be about 3000. My original guess was about 2500 (600 meter parade, walking four abreast, 1 meter between marchers = 600 x 1 x 4 = 2400 marchers), but knowing that the capacity at the Amphitheater is 1200, that it was overflowing, and considering that some people joined the parade while it was moving I think that 3000 is a good number.

Take it or leave it.

Wendy Doromal has more pictures on her blog. She estimates that about 5000 people participated.


I was really glad not to see any anti-protest protesters out there.

This day belonged to the Contract Workers.


Unity March RallyAnybody want to count the heads?

*Hey newspaper people, you should write a story on the different crowd estimates. My "research" shows that people are guessing anywhere between 2,000-18,000. I'm sticking with my guess of 3,000.


Tamara said...

This day belonged to the Contract Workers.

I think the day belonged to "The People"... ALL the people who know in their minds and in their hearts that PL 15-108 is not right and that our contract workers deserve all the people who came out to march and show their support, Chamorro's, Carolinians, Paluans, Americans, Filipino's, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Koreans, etc. etc...many of whom are not "contract" workers but concerned citizens...the day belonged to ALL of them!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

You didn't mention the Irish! You are so racist!


Come on Tamara, you know I meant that in a positive way, but thanks for expounding.


...but I'm serious, don't ever forget to mention the Irish ever again or we'll have beef.


As for PL 15-108, what do you like about it? I like that it cuts down on the illegal sponsorship scams.

I don't like the 30%. I didn't like the 20% either. I don't like quotas in general. There are ways to promote local employment without resorting to quotas.

...but the think is long. I'm not going to go over the whole thing in a blog post.

TexasPhil said...

I'm no expert and seems like I'm going against the grain... but we are at war right now like it or not. I think the main concern is a weak entry point for potential terrorists to get into the US through CNMI. That's how I am reading the bill. The local foreign workers are suffering because of what is being done to protect the US in general.

I feel really bad for them. becausue they are just trying to better their lives. But sometimes non-citizens suffer when things are done to improve natiounal security.

I don't have an answer, but I feel bad them on one hand, but they aren't citizens.

I understand the sadness. 35% of texas is illegal alien workers. I see the struggles daily. But if we can do some things that hurt initially, maybe raising the wages and making CNMI more attractive to american iunvestors can help iun the long run.

**Please know that I'm sympathetic, it's similar over here. It's the world we live in.

Everybody gripes, but nobody has a concrete spelled out alternative to what is actually happening.

Texas Phil

****I would love to invest in Saipan, but it's so complicated to do it. Hell, I'm an american citizen and I can't buy property there on a fee simple basis. That's very unamerican to me.

Don't be pissed at me....

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Commander Vincent from the USS Germantown put it perfectly when he told me, "This place is like America, but not."

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Hey Phil,

I think that if this bill were to include language to give nonresident workers some sort of more permanent status, Conservatives in the Mainland would go absolutely bonkers. It could potentially lead to incumbent Republicans losing in the primaries if an anti-immigration warrior were to run against a moderate.

I wonder if this issue could ever reach the level of National prominence?

In other news, Howard Dean will be at Guam's JJ dinner on Thursday.

I don't know how to get in, but I want to go.

saipanboonieman said...

angelo if you figure out how to get in, could you let me know, i want to go too.....

ps. thanks for the shirts ....

bigsoxfan said...

I'm taking my heart in my hands witing this, as others might want the first shot, but Angelo, wittingly or not, your photojournalistic expertise has out shown all the local reporters. If you will look behind "shamu" in picture three, you will see one of the nameless wonders of the Saipan blogsphere.

Sat on this one all day; "Alert Sea World, Florida, we've found your missing whale" I really don't like those do gooders on the east coast. But much as I dislike dengre and Wendy, I hold the foulest flavor in my mouth for hammerhead and plato. Not saying you should hold yourself as a lightning rod on this one, let someone, with some distance enjoy themselves. I've alerted a couple of their more prominant victims should they want first shot. Well done, Young Angelo, the Force is strong with you.

TexasPhil said...

Saipan Blogger,

I believe you are right. People would go Bonkers at some levels. But remember the "wall" that Bush was going to build that had 9 billion appropriated.... Well, they only built 25 miles around somewhere in Arizona. That tells me that there are major political powers that want the immigrants, But they are also scared about very bad people coming over.

Now, we all are upset that illegals mostly are good people and want to work. And we all agree that they make crappy wages. But isn't it interesting that when we hire a gardener or housekeeper.... we don't collectively pay very much. We personallyu take advantage of the situatioun every day.

Back to your poiunt about permanent status... What if 25000 more came over... do you want more than half of your popuulation as immigrant permanent worker status??

I think that's a fair question... when does it stop?

***I am going to talk about BBQ and stuff for a while after this comment because this subject has no great answer. And it's upsetting.

If I was in charge.... I'm not sure what I'd do.

Texas Phil

TexasPhil said...

One more thing, it was this "conservative" government that gave the last 2 record breaking amnesties to illegals in mainland US.



Rick Jones said...

Let's face it, the agricultural lobby doesn't want illegals to go away. Construction companies don't want them to go away either. Nor do they want them given work permits, which would force the companies to pay federal minimum wage.

I've long believed that all this anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric from our political leaders is a bunch of bullshit. If they wanted to do something about it, they already would have, but they won't because it doesn't benefit large companies that depend on the cheap labor force to maximize profits.

Not to mention the vote-getting potential of telling your constituents how you're going to get rid of illegals and save their jobs.

G said...

Big Sox Fan,

if you are implying that you are going to ask a couple of people to physically harm the beautiful man behind Wendy in photo number three then they will have to go through me.

i am every anonymous blogger you hate. i am every person that challenges your mind and pushes against your ignorance.

send them my way. you can call me to meet up at anytime and i will gladly put myself between anyone that would like to inflict bodily harm on that man or any other person that marched in fridays march.

i am tempted to report your threat to higher authorities as it would constitute a hate crime threat as the gentleman you are referring to was in a protest march in that photo.

glen hunter

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Mustache guy?

Who the hell is mustache guy?

Glen, let me know when you find the phone number for the Mongolian FBI. I'll report bigsoxfan. He shouldn't be saying mean things on blogs.

bradinthesand said...

just to try and get a handle on the true number of people who attended, i went to an objective source.

last night i spoke with the editor of the tribune (a friend of mine and longtime guest worker from the rp).

he both participated in the march and stuck around for the festivities at the amp.

when i asked him for the straight scoop on the number of attendees he told me that "of course if you are an organizer you will say there were 6,000 people or something but there were more like 2-3,000 people there."

he told me that the crowd at the amp was constantly in flux as many were coming or going throughout the evening and that at any one time the crowd totaled 3,000.

he said that the total amount of people who came and went throughout the night was probably closer to the 6,000 figure at best.

the way i see it, the size of the crowd really doesn't matter because it was a victory for the freedom of expression under the first amendment.

bigsoxfan said...

I do not advocate violence or even spitting. Mark Scease

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

...unless it is directed towards Yankee fans.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

...and seriously, who the hell is mustache guy?

bigsoxfan said...

Beats me. And I mean that figuratively. The mustache guy, anyway, could be anyone. I missed the ban the Pl 513 etc.. (the labor bill number) I thought they were ban porkys shirts and vented my spleen. I've since tucked my spleen back in my shirt and am resuming my normal bloggin schedule. ie. How many times does your baby poop and what color is it? Come breathe the air here some time. Mark Scease

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Ah, now I understand. It was a case of blogger misidentification.

G Man, you can stop protecting the beautiful mustache man now.


I remember one time my brother Abraham pooped on the kitchen floor. It was bright yellow. He was two.

Is that healthy?


My worst air award goes to Beijing, with Bangkok coming in second.

bigsoxfan said...

see my post on air in UB

As for your nephew's poop, every baby is different. We have green this week, yellow was last. I'd almost rather discuss casino gambling. As one of the guys on the ship wrote next to the shipboard sewage plant: "Your shit is our bread and butter"

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Mark, sometimes I swear you are speaking a foreign language. I have no idea what that means.

bigsoxfan said...

they make their living processing shit, through the sewage system, which is always in need of maitenance. ie. Your shit is our bread and butter. People on cruise ships, where the volumes are higher have actually died and some find gold rings,etc.. Pick your poison.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

They make money looking for treasure or they make money fixing and working on the sewer system? I'm having a hard time accepting that people pan for gold in liquefied turds.

bigsoxfan said...

I knew I should have saved those pictures. They work on the sewage system; the odd gold ring, bullets, etc., show up in a clean out strainer. The high dollar items show up on cruise ships, they throw away the darndest stuff. The guy that has the pics should be headed to Saipan, I'll have him drop them somewhere handy.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

...and I thought my first job at Disney sucked.