Los Angeles, CA – Activists gathered outside the Los Angeles courthouse Monday morning, chanting “FBI don’t scare me, we’ve got solidarity,” as they rallied in support of veteran Chicano activist Carlos Montes. Over 40 supporters packed the courtroom as Montes’ case began the ‘discovery’ phase. “We are demanding the communications, documents, and information that shows the collaboration of the FBI and LA County Sheriffs,” said Montes outside the hearing.
During this phase of the legal proceedings Jorge Gonzalez, Montes’ attorney, is working to establish that the FBI was behind every step of the attack on Montes.
The LA Sheriff’s department has confirmed that the May 17 raid on Montes’ home was initiated by the FBI. After Montes was arrested, he was questioned by plainclothes FBI agents – not about prior arrests or gun purchases (the stated pretext for the raid), but about his political activism and his relationship with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Montes maintains that he was targeted for his opposition to U.S. military aggression and his activism in solidarity with the people of Colombia and Palestine.
“I just can’t believe that the FBI think they can get away with crap like this,” said Joshua Taylor, a participant in Occupy LA. “These charges are clearly bogus, they’re an attack on the movement as a whole.” Taylor has been at Occupy LA for 22 days now, and says he came out to support Montes because “it could be any of us, we have to stand together.”
The discovery phase of Montes’ case will continue on December 14, at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Temple Street, Department 123 on the 13th floor.
Speaking in front of the courthouse, Mick Kelly, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, stated, “What is happening inside this courthouse is wrong. The U.S. government wants to put Carlos Montes in jail for his anti-war and international solidarity activism. We cannot allow this to happen.”
Montes is part of a larger group of 24 activists around the country who have been hit by FBI repression and a federal grand jury investigation looking into “material support for terrorism.” Many of those activists, including Montes, were involved in organizing the massive protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention.