Detroit Police Closes Some Festivities Amid 59th Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration

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Detroit police waded in on the final night of southwest Detroit’s Cinco de Mayo festival on Sunday, causing crowd dispersal around 5 p.m. along Vernor Avenue and detaining and issuing citations to eight individuals.

In a video shared across social media, community advocate Ofeliza Muñeca Torres Saenz described how numerous Detroit police officers rushed into the otherwise tranquil event, closing all businesses and eateries along Vernor Highway, citing overcapacity concerns.

DPD stated that access to Vernor Highway was “denied” and that certain parts of the festivities continued later into Sunday night.

Torres Saenz, booked to perform at El Club’s “Fiesta Detroit” event, recounted preparing for her show when more than 24 officers came into the venue, abruptly canceling her performance.

Having attended Detroit’s Cinco de Mayo parade for all her life, spanning 37 years, Torres Saenz expressed her disappointment.

Additional videos shared on social media Sunday night show Detroit police officers arresting individuals clad in Palestinian flags or keffiyehs. DPD Media Relations confirmed the detainment, citation, and subsequent release of a female juvenile, though the juvenile’s identity as depicted in the video remained unconfirmed.

Throughout the weekend, hundreds of families had congregated on the streets of southwest Detroit to take part in the city’s 59th annual Cinco de Mayo parade and festival, organized by the Mexican Patriotic Committee of Metropolitan Detroit. The show featured an array of family-friendly activities from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Commencing at noon along Vernor Avenue, the authority parade showcased a procession of floats inspired by this year’s theme: La historia de southwest Detroit.

Cinco de Mayo, an annual commemoration of Mexican heritage, symbolizes Mexico’s victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, where 2,000 Zapotec forces vanquished over 6,000 French troops despite being outnumbered.

The initial influx of Mexicans to Detroit happened at the conclusion of World War I, with individuals laboring on sugar beet farms and in local automobile factories. By the 1920s, an estimated 3,000 Mexicans had settled in the area.

Resident Serena Maria Daniels captured footage of the parade on social media, TikTok, underscoring its significance as a representation of the community’s Mexican culture.

Adjacent to the Michigan Welcome Center off 21st Street, 12 local businesses set up booths as part of the two-day festival lineup.

Roberto and Loretta Simpsons of Hamtramck, regular attendees of the annual event for nearly a decade, expressed their delight at witnessing the resurgence of crowds after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also participated in the parade, chatting with community members and joining for photographs with families.