>By Jill Holslin
SAN DIEGO | On Saturday, Feb 21, US Border Patrol forcibly denied US citizens access to Friendship Park, an historic plaza overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the US-Mexico Border. At noon, a group of 150 of us–local church choir members, university students, professors, human rights advocates, and environmentalists–gathered to hold a service and concert, joined by friends in Tijuana, including members of the Tijuana Opera.
Upon our arrival, Border Patrol agents with PepperBall stun guns and tear gas canisters at the ready forcibly pushed us back and threatened to arrest any who would approach the fence.
This video captures much of the chaos of the day’s events, along with some of the sheer, astonishing loveliness of the Faure Requiem–the strains of our music rising up into the clouds gave us a tremendous sense of power and strength.
The men barking into our faces with bullhorns and whistles, shouting slogans about illegal aliens coming across the border with drugs, were five San Diego Minutemen, one wearing a t-shirt from NumbersUSA, a registered white supremacist hate group. A good portion of this video follows John Fanestil and Dan Watman as they are being led away by Border Patrol–they were both detained briefly that day, and then released without charge. John Fanestil, our leader, and a methodist minister was detained while attempting to serve communion to celebrants on the Tijuana side of the fence. Dan Watman was also detained, leader of Border Meetup, a group that hosts social gatherings at the border including yoga, salsa dancing, kite-flying festivals and park and beach cleanups.
Video Credit: TravelGayle, YouTube
Photo Credits: Pedro Rios, Scott Bennett