Monday, April 10, 2006
DOWNTOWN SANTA ANA FLOODED WITH UPWARDS OF
1,000 IMMIGRANT RIGHTS SUPPORTERS
Hundreds of people demand equal rights and fair
treatment for undocumented workers
By DUANE J. ROBERTS email@example.com
SANTA ANA, CA -- A small park directly across the
street from the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse ended
up becoming a staging area today for several rallies
and marches that drew upwards of 1,000 people into
downtown Santa Ana in defense of immigrant rights.
The action, called forth by Local 1877 of the Service
Employees International Union, not only brought out
dozens of their own members, but hundreds of mostly
working class Mexicans from local neighborhoods and
other communities across Orange County.
During one of the rallies, a single Mexican mom
told the crowd she's employed as a janitor cleaning
some of the government buildings in the downtown area.
She attacked proposed federal legislation which would
label her a criminal for doing this work.
One march stretched almost three blocks long as trade
unionists, day laborers, activists, high school
students, and moms pushing baby strollers walked on
the sidewalks surrounding a complex of buildings that
house county, city, state, and federal government
Marchers held up signs with statements like "We are
Not Criminals," "We are America," "Keep Families
United," "Amnesty," "The Working Class has No
Borders," and "Justice and Dignity for All
Immigrants." Another simply read: "Please Leave Us
About two dozen Sheriff's deputies dressed in drab
green jackets and slacks stood silently on the
pavement, both hands tightly gripped on their batons,
as hundreds of marchers passed near the front entrance
of the Orange County Superior Court, chanting various
Government employees could be seen peeking out from
their cubicles, watching marchers from windows; others
stood quietly near glass doorways. Some ended up
stuck inside their vehicles temporarily as the long procession
of people slowly snaked their way past them.
Despite the combined presence of officers from the
Sheriff's Department, Federal Protective Services,
California Highway Patrol, and other local law
enforcement agencies, there were no reported arrests
or incidents of police brutality.
Santa Ana Police hid an equestrian unit it uses for
crowd control purposes in another small park near the
downtown area, not far from where the rallies and
marches were taking place. But there is no evidence to
suggest it was ever deployed.