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Cinco de Mayo Rally In Morgan Hill Ends Peacefully

American flag/Wikimedia.
American flag/Wikimedia.
A demonstration this morning ended without any problems or arrests outside a Morgan Hill high school that drew controversy for sending students home from school for wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo in 2010, a police captain said.

About 50 demonstrators, including members of two opposing groups, Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots and We the People Morgan Hill, stayed near Live Oak High School at 1505 E. Main Ave. for about an hour and then left, Morgan Hill police Capt. Shane Palsgrove said.

The rally was "peaceful," there were no arrests or disputes among the demonstrators and they did not interfere with students on their way to the school, Palsgrove said.

Starting at about 1 p.m., members of the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots also drove a convoy of motorcycles, dubbed the "May 5th Flag Run," through Morgan Hill to the high school, police said.

At 5 p.m., We the People Morgan Hill will have its demonstration at Morgan Hill Community Park, where members of the Patriots are also invited to attend. Morgan Hill police assigned "a few extra" officers to be at the demonstrations to ensure they come off safely, Palsgrove said.

As of noontime, Palsgrove described the day of the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration as "great" with "no calls for service." "At Community Park, I expect the same thing," he said.

The Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots gathered at the school this morning to hold American flags to bring attention to the school's decision in 2010 to send several students home for wearing the American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

The incident sparked a national outcry, with some groups rallying to support the boys and defend their right to wear the T-shirts. School staff had told the boys to either turn the shirts inside out or go home after some students at the school took offense and tensions flared.

The parents of three students sent home sued the school in federal court later in 2010, saying that their children's rights to free speech were violated, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the school had the right to take safety measures to avoid racial tensions.

The parents appealed the decision and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is still considering whether to accept the appeal. Last month, after the Patriots group announced they planned to stage a protest on Cinco de Mayo, another group, We the People Morgan Hill, said they would put together a counter demonstration.

Last Monday, officials from the city of Morgan Hill, Morgan Hill police and Morgan Hill Unified School District met with representatives of both groups, Palsgrove said. "During that meeting, they found common values," Palsgrove said.

The organizations agreed to invite each other's members to their demonstrations to celebrate the constitutional and First Amendment rights of people to display the American flag and the Mexican flag on Cinco de Mayo, Palsgrove said.

The annual May 5 holiday is a celebration by Mexican-Americans of an 1862 battle in which Mexican forces defeated a larger contingent of French army troops who had invaded Mexico.

--Bay City News
Cathy P. May 06, 2014 at 07:26 PM
If I were Latino, I'd be angry my culture was being appropriated and exploited by beer companies and the like. Of course, I've never been able to figure out what bunnies and colored eggs have to do with the crucifixion of Christ either ;)
Mike May 07, 2014 at 12:45 PM
This holiday is just an excuse to give the rest of us the finger.

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