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Tanks at LA Anti-war Protest

14. November 2004 • Scott Trudeau
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The LA Independent Media Center is reporting that two Marine Armored Personnel Carriers arrived at an LA anti-war protest. According to email and blog posts, the Marines claim the tanks were “lost” or “stuck at a traffic light.” Many in the anti-war community think the presence of the tanks was an attempt at intimidation.

> Axis of Logic: They deployed two f***ing TANKS to counter an anti-war protest in LA

  1. If it was an attempt to intimidate, it was a clumsy and ill considered effort!
       —Scott T.    Nov. 14 '04 - 05:30PM    #
  2. The LA Times’ take:,1,3910246.story

    “”But police and witnesses said the armored vehicles were on their way to a Veterans Day event at the nearby Veterans Affairs grounds on Wilshire Boulevard, stopping only for a red light near the Federal Building.

    “It’s a whole lot of nothing,” said Officer Kathy Simpson, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman. “The ‘tanks’ were there for Veterans Day. They ride in the parade and wave.””

    The Veterans’ Day connection makes a lot of sense, come to think of it, especially as no tanks have been deployed for far larger protests in this country in recent years. Assuming they were on their way to a parade, though, I guess it isn’t out of the question that the operators might have, uh, lingered a little longer than necessary, but I’m not convinced that tanks were “deployed” to this demonstration. But maybe I’m just naive.
       —Brandon    Nov. 15 '04 - 12:02AM    #
  3. Why would anybody dispatch a pair of APCs to a protest? Especially if you’re not even going to have, say, riot police there. (Note that, in the video, the only cops are guys on bicycles.) I’d expect riot cops to be an intermediate phase well below dispatching troops. (And, really, riot cops are much more menacing. I mean, if soldiers show up and anything happens, it’s going to be a huge scandal. If riot cops happen to bash some heads, well, oops.)

    I buy the “some other reason” explanation for the APCs being there.
       —Murph    Nov. 15 '04 - 01:42AM    #
  4. I buy the LA Times explanation for the most part, though I wouldn’t put it past a Marine to think it’d be fun to “drive by” a protest in a tank… I definitely don’t think this was a decision made by anyone with a rank higher than lieutenant.
       —Scott T.    Nov. 15 '04 - 02:43PM    #
  5. They’re just testing the waters to see how everyone responds. Given the way the media and public are reacting, I won’t be suprised when more tanks start showing up at at protests…
       —Adam    Nov. 15 '04 - 06:51PM    #
  6. Alarmist noise aside, there’s nothing the American government wants less than a Tienanmen Square. In fact, they don’t want anything that in any way resembles it. Tanks (or APCs, or military in general) will not be regular features at protests. I’d expect that Veterans Day and Memorial Day are the absolute only times they can get away with it—and the absolute only times they’d try. (And that’s assuming they were trying this time…)
       —Murph    Nov. 16 '04 - 01:22AM    #