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Thousands join in May Day immigration reform march

Thousands of people marched through downtown Los Angeles in the name of immigration reform on Sunday, marking May Day on May 1, 2011.
May 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of people marched through downtown Los Angeles in the name of immigration reform on Sunday, marking May Day.

The march and rally aim for full legalization. The message participants want to relay is for the government to create a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented people already in the U.S.

On May Day 2007, an immigration reform rally turned violent when police used rubber bullets and batons to break up crowds in MacArthur Park. The city ended up paying about $13 million in legal settlements.

There was some concern for this year's march. Members of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition said another group, the Southern California Immigration Coalition, wanted the march and rally to get rowdy.

"The other group, there's been rumors that they might come and be disruptive. We hope they don't do that. We respect whatever views they might have on immigration reform. We happen to have our views. Those are the issues that we're coming to march around," said Juan Jose Gutierrez with Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition.

The Los Angeles Police Department said officers are ready for any disruptions.

"I think that our country is made of immigrants and our immigrants sustain our economy. It's very important for them to be able to have legalization and to have the same rights that everybody else has. I think that unfortunately, the other side doesn't completely understand or value the work that immigrants to in our country," said Long Beach resident Carmen Varela.

Several streets were closed for the march and rally, including Olympic Boulevard, Spring and First streets.


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