Mayday celebrated in Gainesville
Rob Augman
May/June 2001

An energetic protest of 50-100 people gathered at a local Taco Bell restaurant to raise awareness about the great injustice between the enormous wealth of those who own Taco Bell and the gross poverty of those who pick the tomatoes for tacos, burritos, and chalupas. The protest was part of decentralized statewide actions against the Taco Bell company.

In Gainesville, about 30 demonstrators dressed up like tomatoes, wearing red garbage bags over their torsos and green pantyhose over their faces with leaves sticking out the top of their heads. It was very colorful. It was an incredible scene and the energy was very high with chants in English and Spanish. About a dozen farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) came up for the protest. After a while 10 of the 'tomatoes' came pushing a giant 5-foot tall tomato. It was a giant structure that was pushed into the drive-thru and chained to a fence to block cars from using the drive-thru. It worked for a while. The few cops that were standing around pulled a chain-cutter out of their trunk and snipped it. But the fun wasn't over yet. The giant tomato was filled with 50 pounds of rotten tomatoes and a trap door let them out the bottom. The cops moved it slowly though, and realized the trap door before all the tomatoes had gotten out though. Some made it out. The cops separated the tomato pail from the 'tomato' structure but left the pail in the drive-thru. A sympathetic driver went through the drive-thru bumping the pail with their car and knocking the rotten tomatoes all over the drive-thru. A cop car pulled out to chase them but instead hit a protestor who had gotten in front of the cop car while trying to buy time for the sympathetic driver to get away. Protestors gathered around the cop car cursing him for hitting a protestor and the driver got away.

Later that night a Mayday rally took place with around 100 people listening to labor and community organizers, and radical activists from Gainesville and around the state speak as well as listen to a couple live musicians. The rally was organized by the Gainesville chapter of the Florida Radical Activist Network (FRAN) and Student Peace Action (SPA). Participants were also from the Labor Party, National Organization for Women, Tampa Bay Action Group, Student Farmworker Alliance, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Others. It was a good time. This was our second annual Mayday celebration and we look forward to this tradition carrying on for years to come.

For more Gainesville Florida Radical Activist Network info, contact
For more information on the Coalition for Immokalee Workers, their website is See also the April 2001 Iguana for more information on the Taco Bell boycott.

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