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Protest blocks Mira Loma intersection

May 28, 2009 5:53:53 PM PDT
A group pushing for better working conditions and the right to unionize at warehouses in Riverside County was unable to get much attention, so Thursday they parked a forklift in a busy Mira Loma intersection to make sure people noticed. The protest involving about 300 people started around 3:15 p.m. at Etiwanda Avenue and 58th Street, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

The Sheriff's Department called for all available units -- with riot gear -- to assist in redirecting traffic and blocking protesters.

As a sheriff's patrol unit shut down the intersection to prevent vehicles from running into the protesters, a motorcyclist crashed into a sheriff's car, but no one was injured, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The group was protesting layoffs and working conditions at area warehouses.

They are also seeking full- rather than part-time temporary jobs, a living wage, health insurance and the right to unionize.

The group, called Warehouse Workers United, had made similar demands weeks earlier, and when they went unheeded, they said they would conduct an act of civil disobedience, which occurred today when they parked a forklift in the intersection and refused to get out for the street.

After negotiating with law enforcement, planned arrests were made on about seven young protesters, and the forklift was pushed out of the way by a patrol car.

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