As the beats of a live mariachi band blared through the intersection of Broadway and Olympic at the start of Wednesday’s May Day march, Susana Gonzalez focused on her sizzling bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
“Hasta ahorita, nada,” she said, shaking her head as she explained that she hadn’t sold a single hot dog to demonstrators.
She showed up at the intersection at 11:30 a.m., and based on sales during past years at the event had expected to sell at least a handful of hot dogs before noon.
“Other years were better,” she said, scraping charred bacon from the skillet atop her rolling cart.
A group of people waving U.S. flags walked by and Gonzalez smiled and gave them her hot dog deal in Spanglish: “Dos por five dollars.”
They smiled and said they’d come back later.
Across the street, Rosalinda Martinez was a couple of hours into her shift selling fresh fruit and hadn’t made any sales either.
She was still enjoying herself, though, dancing along with the music as she peeled mango with a vegetable peeler.
“Menos gente, pero más ambiente,” she said, explaining that although this year’s crowd seemed smaller than usual, the ambiance was even better.
Daniel Guzman, who rolled his cart of frozen treats from his usual spot at MacArthur Park to the event downtown, said he was glad he decided to made the trek.
“It was colder than this last year,” he said, smiling. “So I know I’ll sell more today."
Hundreds of demonstrators were beginning to gather in downtown Los Angeles for marches and protests expected to last into the evening.
Because of the recently unveiled immigration overhaul bill, workers have more hope, said David Huerta, who works for the local chapter of Service Employees International Union -- a group of janitors, security officers and airport workers.
“There’s change on the horizon,” he said, smiling as he looked down at his purple shirt. It read: “With us, America works.”