Takeover: Protestors rush Albuquerque City Council bench

Posted at: 05/05/2014 6:36 PM
Updated at: 05/05/2014 10:49 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It was a dramatic takeover on Monday at Albuquerque's City Hall.

Protesters took over the city council meeting, even attempting to make a citizen's arrest of APD chief Gorden Eden.

The woman who says it was her idea to take over the councilor's bench on Monday said the protest was good theater with a purpose.

However, the takeover  put councilors on edge and eventually forced council president Ken Sanchez to cancel the meeting.

"It made a big statement," Susan Schuurman said.

What started like any other city council meeting quickly became a mess of protestors, fleeing city councilors and even the chief of police getting out of dodge.

"You are charged with murder!" protesters shouted at APD Chief Gorden Eden.

The meeting erupted just after 6 p.m. with protestors standing and calling for Eden's arrest. Eden and Deputy Chief Eric Garcia quickly left the council chambers.

Many councilors stayed.

Councilwoman Klarissa Peña tried to reason with protestors.

"If everyone sits down, let's have a talk," Peña said.

For a while anyway, but then, protestors rushed the bench.

"We cannot have our people being shot in the streets," shouted protestor Nora Anaya.

Anaya took over the council president's seat and gavel, proclaiming the first "people's council" was in session.

President Ken Sanchez canceled the meeting for the safety of councilors and the public.

Security teams ushered protestors out of the chambers and conducted sweeps of all 11 floors to secure the building.

"It was my idea, I saw that done in Tucson," Schuurman said. "It was good theater, you know? It flip flopped it. I think it sends a real message, that the status quo has got to go."

Councilman Rey Garduño and councilwoman Peña were two of the last to leave after nearly all the protestors had gone.

"I support the redress of government," Garduño said. "That's what that was. I don't see it as anything else. No one got hurt."

Council president Ken Sanchez said he has rescheduled the agenda that was supposed to be discussed for a special meeting that will take place on Thursday.

It is a misdemeanor to disrupt a council meeting, punishable with a $500 fine and up to 180 days in jail.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 did not see any arrests made Monday night.