Thousands march for immigrant rights

first_img“We are hardworking people. We just want to be here legally,” said Maria Navas, a sewing factory worker from El Salvador who has been in Los Angeles for 14 years. Also Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge overseeing a federal consent decree to order a hearing on the Police Department’s use of force on May 1. The decree requires police reforms in the aftermath of the so-called Rampart scandal that involved allegations of wrongdoing by officers in an anti-gang unit. On May 1, riot police struck demonstrators and journalists with batons and fired more than 240 rubber bullets to disperse a large immigration rally at MacArthur Park west of downtown. Police said they responded after being pelted by rocks and bottles. No one was seriously hurt, but at least 60 citizen complaints involving as many as 100 officers have been filed. Four investigations are ongoing, and two high-ranking police officials have been demoted. On Thursday, marchers gathered in front of a Wilshire Boulevard church for a “town hall” meeting before the procession. Among them was state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, who represents the district and was among political leaders strongly criticizing the police action. LOS ANGELES – Demonstrators marching for immigration reform converged peacefully Thursday on the site of the so-called May Day melee, where police hit protesters and journalists with batons and rubber bullets just over two weeks ago. The march by roughly 2,000 immigrants and their supporters was aimed at reassuring the community that they could exercise their constitutional rights. “In this great city, we can walk and march with our families,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told the crowd. “And we can march in peace.” The roughly 10-block procession that led to MacArthur Park followed an announcement in Washington, D.C., of an agreement between the White House and top lawmakers on a sweeping immigration plan to grant legal status to millions of people in the country unlawfully. People in the tall office buildings that line Wilshire Boulevard waved from windows as the marchers filed past. At each intersection, about four officers stood guard. When people arrived at MacArthur Park, a police officer used a bullhorn to direct marchers in Spanish, saying “Thank you for your cooperation.” The peaceful crowd banged on drums and waved mostly U.S. flags, as well as those from Mexico, El Salvador and other Latin American countries. “If there are a lot of people who come today, maybe the lawmakers in Washington will take notice. The immigrants are here, they deserve a chance,” said participant Alberto Reyes.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more