The old Univision television station on Cesar Chavez Boulevard south of downtown may now be just a pile of rubble, but community activists say the memories of how the city disregarded Latino history in making the decision to demolish it will linger, 1200 WOAI news reports.
A half dozen people were arrested after they defied police orders and attempted to lay down in front of the bulldozers which were carrying out a court order to tear down the rest of the building, most of which had already been demolished to make way for a condominium development.
"When we lose a structure like this, we lose the history of what happened there," said Maria Berriozabal, a former downtown City Council member who now works with preservation groups.
One activist said that San Antonio thinks that 'Latino history ended with the Alamo.'
Many of the protesters compared the demolition of the Univision building to the contested demolition of the La Gloria night club on the west side in 2002, as evidence that the city is an 'easy mark' for wealthy developers, and is not interested in salvaging Latino cultural landmarks.
The Univision building, which was built in 1955, housed KCOR-AM, which was the first commercial Spanish language radio station, and later KWEX-TV, which was the first Spanish language television station in the country, and the flagship of the Univision network.
"What happened here is very important, not only for San Antonio, but for the rest of the country and actually for the world," Berriozabal said.
Many of the demonstrators talked about how they and their immigrant parents 'bonded' with San Antonio in the 1950s and 1960s because there were finally broadcasters who spoke their language and talked about their culture.
"If the city will allow this to be demolished, what else will they allow to be torn down," one demonstrator asked.
Police said the demonstrators, many of whom wore masks due to the dust from the demolition project, were 'orderly and respectful.'
Many protesters wanted the building to be preserved as a museum of Spanish Language broadcasting.