Immigration legislation sends protesters to city streets
Friday, March 24, 2006; Posted: 6:02 p.m. EST (23:02 GMT)
Demonstrations held in Arizona, California, Georgia and Wisconsin
TV coverage showed the Phoenix march stretching for several blocks.
PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) — Thousands of
people across the country protested Friday against legislation cracking
down on illegal immigrants, with demonstrators in Phoenix, Los Angeles,
California, and Atlanta, Georgia, staging school walkouts, marches and
Congress is considering bills that would make
it a felony to be illegally in the United States, impose new penalties
on employers who hire illegal immigrants and erect fences along
one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border. The proposals have angered many
The Los Angeles demonstration led to fights between
black and Hispanic students at one high school, but the protests were
largely peaceful, authorities said.
Chantal Mason, a sophomore at
George Washington Preparatory High, said black students jumped Hispanic
students as they left classes to protest a bill passed the House in
December that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally.
was horrible, horrible,” Mason said. “It’s ridiculous that a bunch of
black students would jump on Latinos like that, knowing they’re trying
to get their freedom.”
In Phoenix, police said 10,000
demonstrators marched to the office of Republican Sen. Jon Kyl,
co-sponsor of a bill that would give illegal immigrants up to five
years to leave the country. The turnout clogged a major thoroughfare.
here for the American Dream,” said Malissa Greer, 29, who joined a
crowd estimated by police to be at least 10,000 strong. “God created
all of us. He’s not a God of the United States. He’s a God of the
Kyl had no immediate comment on the rally.
500 students at Huntington Park High School near Los Angeles walked out
of classes in the morning. Hundreds of the students, some carrying
Mexican flags, walked down the middle of Los Angeles streets, police
cruisers behind them.
The students visited two other area high
schools, trying to encourage students to join their protest, but the
schools were locked down to keep students from leaving, said Los
Angeles district spokeswoman Monica Carazo.
In Georgia, activists
said tens of thousands of workers did not show up at their jobs Friday
after calls for a work stoppage to protest a bill passed by the Georgia
House on Thursday.