San Diego

3 Arrested at Opposing Demonstrations at Chicano Park

Three people were arrested Saturday when a group of demonstrators who believe San Diego’s Chicano Park discriminates against non-Latinos was met with a large crowd of counter-protesters in Barrio Logan.

The rally, dubbed the Patriot Picnic, started at the San Diego Convention Center Saturday morning. Patriot Picnic organizer, Roger Ogden, described the gathering as a demonstration against the Chicano Park's "discrimination" and "radical political theme."

The group of about a couple-dozen demonstrators then marched through Barrio Logan to Chicano Park, located underneath Coronado Bay Bridge on Logan Avenue, where they were met by hundreds of park supporters. In all, about 700 people were present, SDPD said.

Three people were arrested during the demonstrations, one for possession of a billy club and one for resisting arrest.  A third person was arrested for punching a police officer in the face, SDPD said.

Barricades were put in place to separate groups, SDPD said. About two blocks of Logan Avenue, between Cesar E. Chavez Parkway and Evans Street, was shut down during the demonstrations.

The first Patriot Picnic rally was held in September 2017. Counter-demonstrators believe the picnics have racial undertones, a claim that Ogden denies. 

Chicano Park in its current form dates back to the 1970s, when San Diego residents occupied Chicano Park in a successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on the land where the City of San Diego had promised to build a park for the community. The park has served as a symbol to the predominantly Mexican-American community that makes up Barrio Logan since.

The park was designated a National Historic Landmark in January 2017 because it depicts a broad range of America’s rich, complex history, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. 

Ogden believes that the park's depiction of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, through painted murals and flags, is part of what makes the park discriminatory to other groups. 

This is a developing story and details may change as information becomes available. 

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