Members of a Chicano nationalist group with little presence in Southern Arizona is planning a protest in Tucson Friday morning.
The Brown Berets de Aztlan plan to demonstrate against the “Minuteman” border-watch groups at 9 a.m. at Pima County Superior Court. A counter-demonstration is likely by people sympathetic to the Minuteman cause and disdainful of what they see as racism by the Brown Berets.
Joseph Cremeans, chair of the group’s San Diego branch, said in a series of e-mails last week that the group’s reason for coming to Arizona is the murders of Raul Flores and his daughter BriseniaMay 30 in Arivaca. Authorities have accused a woman who led a small border-watch group, Minutemen American Defense, of being the ringleader in the home-invasion killings.
The woman, Shawna Forde, has been indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and other crimes, as have her two co-defendants, alleged gunman Jason E,. Bush and local man Albert Gaxiola.
“We want to be outside the courthouse in full protest so that the courts know we are not going to allow minutemen to continue to kill people.,” Cremeans said via e-mail.
More broadly, the group’s flier for the protest cites support by politicians and government for Minuteman groups as reasons for the demonstration. Cremeans did not return an e-mail asking for more specifics about what government support he is referring to.
The Brown Berets were formed about 40 years ago in Southern California, inspired in part by the Black Panthers, a militant African-American nationalist group. The Brown Berets were militaristic in their organization, focused on fighting what they considered police brutality against Mexican-Americans and re-establishing “Aztlan,” a greater Mexico including the Southwest United States as a homeland for people of Mexican descent.
Although the group has shrunk, it has re-emerged during recent years issue with the rise of the Minuteman movement and its call for strictly secured borders.