Nearly 600 students and their supporters marched toward the site of the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale on Monday to protest a recently passed law denying in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.
They chanted, "We are students, not criminals," and hours before the game they were turned back by Glendale police a mile from University of Phoenix Stadium.
But eight activists stepped across a symbolic line the city had drawn for them not to cross and were cited by police.
"We will fight this in court," said activist Alfredo Gutierrez, first in Spanish and then in English. "We will fight these citations because we feel they're unconstitutional."
The students delivered a letter to BCS officials, asking for support of the proposed federal DREAM Act, which would help students who have graduated from U.S. high schools attain legal immigration status.
An African-American activist said that he will call on national civil rights leaders to block next year's Super Bowl from being played in Arizona.
"Here we are 10 years from when we had the Super Bowl taken from us, and we're no further ahead," said the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, referring to earlier battles over the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Arizona. "They can have their fun today, but they can't have their fun tomorrow."
The protesters started to gather at 10 a.m. Monday at a church near 80th Avenue and Camelback Road to protest Proposition 300, a ballot initiative passed in November requiring that students who cannot prove their legal immigration status pay out-of-state tuition at state colleges and universities. Several protesters addressed the crowd.
"Our parents can't afford ,000 a year," said Ari, 18, a freshman at Arizona State University. None of the students used his or her last name because the students are not in the country legally, although they have spent most of their lives here.
"I would have to drop out," she said.
Miguel Z, an ASU junior, works two jobs to stay in school. He is in the country legally but is not a citizen, even though he spent four years in the Navy.
"I'm here because this does not just affect the undocumented, it affects the entire community," he said.
His older brother attended ASU, and his younger sister is a student there now.
As the marchers left the parking lot, they were met by Glendale Police Commander Matt Lively, who informed them that because they did not have a permit for the demonstration, they would have to stay on sidewalks and could not march any farther than Missouri Avenue.
Glendale requires that permits for such demonstrations be obtained 14 days in advance, which the march organizers did not do.
"Their whole point involved marching down 91st Avenue," said Glendale spokeswoman Julie Frisoni, referring to a main approach to the stadium. "There was no way the city could permit that."
The crowd marched two by two in orderly fashion, carrying signs and chanting, "S・ se puede," and "Dream Act now."
Yellow-shirted organizers walked alongside carrying plastic bags to make sure no debris was left behind.
"I think this is an excellent opportunity to shed light on what impact Proposition 300 will have on these young people," said Danny Ortega, a Phoenix attorney and immigrant-rights activist, who was marching with the students.
The marchers turned up 83rd Avenue and when they reached Missouri Avenue, they were met again by police.
Gutierrez, Maupin and six other marchers - Salvador Reza, Hector Iturralde, Carlos Garcia, Martin Manteca, Tupac Enrique and Liana Rowe - locked arms and stepped onto the street. They were issued criminal citations for engaging in a special event without a permit and are scheduled to appear in court Jan. 23.
Then, the march turned around and returned to the church. On the way back, they were met by counterprotesters.