Saying the aggressive tactics of President Donald Trump have united them, members of dozens of organizations said Tuesday they are joining forces for the annual May Day march in Los Angeles, and they predicted a crowd of up to 100,000 people descending on city streets for Monday’s demonstration.
With the group banded under the banner “May Day Coalition of Los Angeles,” organizers said more than 100 groups have come together for a massive joint campaign, including the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, ACLU, and other unions. It will mark the first time in more than 10 years that all marches on May Day in the city have announced unity among the groups.
The march, called “Resist Los Angeles,” is scheduled to begin in MacArthur Park at 11 a.m. Monday and end at City Hall.
Protests marches in 2006 and 2007 drew hundreds of thousands of people in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Some estimates ran as high as 1 million people at the March 25, 2006 protest and rally, the largest of all protests held across the country that day.
Although the protest movement splintered in subsequent years over direction and leadership, with different groups holding competing marches, May Day protests have become a part of the ongoing national agenda, and continue to stress immigrant rights and immigration reform, as well as workers’ rights.
In 2010, 60 thousand people attended the May Day march to protest SB 1070, a controversial Arizona law that required police officers to check a person’s immigration status if they had “reasonable suspicion” the person was in the country illegally.
The courts largely ruled the law unconstitutional.
Trump’s stepped-up immigration enforcement orders, recent raids and other Trump policies have spurred a number of protest marches since his inauguration. Coalitions of groups from various backgrounds and causes are again uniting to fight back.
The rights of undocumented immigrants are again taking center stage.
Juan Jose Gutierrez, national coordinator of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, spoke Tuesday at a news conference at City Hall attended by several dozen organizers and said this year’s May Day march would send a message to the Trump administration that “our just struggle for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship is here to stay until we win it.”
Organizers are also calling for a general strike on May Day. They want people to refrain from economic activity, such as shopping or eating out at restaurants.
The San Gabriel Valley Sanctuary Coalition is calling on people to not go to work and for students to not go to school. They will hold a seperate march at 11 a.m., from Bassett High School to La Puente city Hall.
“Together we know that we can stop a Trump agenda, a Trump agenda that wants to build a wall, not build better lives, but build a wall. We know that if we march on May 1 we can continue to stop an agenda that seeks to penalize workers,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said officers will be out in force Monday to ensure the demonstration remains peaceful. He asked marchers to remember that his officers are in support of them and are not representatives of the federal government.
“My message is this: I know there are a lot of folks that are upset about recent immigration issues, have other issues with the federal government.
You know, remember this is our city. Your police department supports you,” Beck said during an appearance on ABC7. “We depend upon your cooperation. And let’s make this a demonstration of L.A. unity and not the things that divide us.”
Information from City News Service used in this report.