Supporters of Alhambra resident and longtime Chicano activist Carlos Montes rallied together on Tuesday morning in front of the
Los Angeles criminal courthouse to demand that the FBI drop their charges against him, the Pasadena Star-News is reporting. The well-known anti-war and Chicano activist faces felony charges involving gun possession. He was set to appear for his first day of trial on Tuesday.
Montes was arrested one year ago Wednesday, when the FBI and Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies raided his Alhambra home and found a gun. He believes that the FBI is unfairly targeting him, along with other outspoken activists who have faced similar arrests. Montes spoke with the Source last June, and said that their work to advocate certain issues, including denouncing the US' involvement in Palestine and Colombia, has made them objects of unfounded criminal charges. "The FBI is using the pretext of our solidarity work in Palestine or Colombia to persecute us," he said. "They say we’re providing 'material support' for terrorist organizations." Judge Patricia Schnegg postponed the trial until June 20.
Montes has been a preeminent figure in the Chicano civil rights movements since the 1960s. He grew up in East LA and co-founded the Brown Berets, which dealt with issues of education for Latino students and police brutality. He has lived in Alhambra since 1989, and continues to remain active in speaking out on issues of war, police brutality, and immigration rights.