Immigration marches expected nationwide

VIA CNN.com


DALLAS, Texas (AP) — Dozens of marches
were expected across the United States on Monday in support of an
estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and in protest of recent
legislation aimed at toughening immigration laws.

On Sunday,
tens of thousands of people banged drums, waved U.S. flags and marched
in a protest in downtown Dallas, Texas, shouting “Si Se Puede!” —
Spanish for “Yes, we can!” 

Marchers
included families pushing strollers with their children and ice cream
vendors who placed American flags on their carts. Many wore white
clothing to symbolize peace.

Police estimated the crowd at 350,000 to 500,000. There were no reports of violence.

It
was among several demonstrations that drew thousands of protesters
Sunday in New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Utah, Oregon, Idaho
and California.

“If we don’t protest they’ll never hear us,”
said Oscar Cruz, 23, a construction worker who marched among the
estimated 50,000 in San Diego. Cruz, who came illegally to the U.S. in
2003, said he had feared a crackdown but felt emboldened by the large
marches across the country in recent weeks.

In Birmingham,
Alabama, demonstrators marched along the same streets where civil
rights activists clashed with police during the 1960s and rallied at a
park where a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. stands as a reminder of
the fight for equal rights and the violence that once plagued the city.

“We’ve
got to get back in touch with the Statue of Liberty,” said the Rev.
Lawton Higgs, a United Methodist pastor and activist. “We’ve got to get
back in touch with the civil rights movement, because that’s what this
is about.”

Organizers in St. Paul, Minnesota, were surprised by
the crowd calling for change at a rally at the state Capitol. Police
estimated the crowd at 30,000.

The rallies also drew counter-demonstrators.

In
Salt Lake City, Utah, Jerry Owens, 59, a Navy veteran from Midway
wearing a blue Minuteman T-shirt and camouflage pants, held a yellow
“Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

“I think it’s real sad because these
people are really saying it’s OK to be illegal aliens,” Owens said.
“What Americans are saying is ‘Yes, come here. But come here legally.’
And I think that’s the big problem.”

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