Dozens of protesters, some carrying toothbrushes in their pockets to demonstrate their willingness to go to jail, swarmed around the old Channel 41 building on Cesar Chavez Boulevard downtown this afternoon, after a judge lifted a restraining order and allowed the remaining part of the building to be demolished.
"This is a major example of historic significance for the Latino community in San Antonio and across the United States of America said Susana Segura, one of the protesters who gathered at the fence that surrounds the lot, and the pile of rubble that stands on it.
The demonstration prompted more than a dozen police officers to ring the building. Police Chief William McManus and Segura worked out an agreement to keep the demonstration peaceful. But he said the court order must be enforced, and he said anybody who wants to be arrested 'will be accommodated.'
Dr. Antonia Castaneda, a history professor and one of the protesters who got inside the fence, said the demolition shows how unwilling San Antonio is to see Hispanic culture and history beyond the Missions and the Alamo.
"It is tied to not only our linguistic, cultural, and civil rights history, but also our civil rights history," she said. "This is a civil rights issue as much as anything else."
The building, which was built in 1955, housed KCOR-AM radio, which was the first commercial Spanish language radio station in the country, and KWEX-TV, which was the country's first Spanish language TV station and the flagship of the Univision Network.
The protesters want the building and land preserved to commemorate the historic nature of the site.
"What happened here is very very important not just for San Antonio but also for the rest of the country and actually the world," said Maria Berriozabal, a former City Council member.
"When we lose a structure like this, we lose the history of what happened there."
The land has been purchased by a developer who plans to erect a condominium complex on the site.