A crowd estimated by police at more than 500,000 boisterously marched in Los Angeles on Saturday to protest federal legislation that would crack down on undocumented immigrants, penalize those who help them and build a security wall along the U.S.’ southern border.
Spirited but peaceful marchers — ordinary immigrants alongside labor, religious and civil rights groups — stretched more than 20 blocks along Spring Street, Broadway and Main Street to City Hall, tooting kazoos, waving American flags and chanting, “Sí se puede!” (Yes we can!).
Attendance at the demonstration far surpassed the number of people who protested against the Vietnam War and Proposition 187, a 1994 state initiative that sought to deny public benefits to undocumented migrants but was struck down by the courts. Police said there were no arrests or injuries except for a few cases of exhaustion.
I have just returned from the largest, most energized demonstration I have ever witnessed in my life. Over 500,000 people filled the streets of downtown Los Angeles to march against HR 4437, a bill authored by Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner (heir to the Kotex fortune) which would turn 11 million undocumented immigrants into felons, punish anyone guilty of providing them assistance, and construct an iron wall between the US and Mexico.
The rally reached a crescendo as thousands of demonstrators lined the walls and bridges above the 101 freeway waving flags and cheering while an endless parade of cars and trucks blasted their horns in support. It was the sound of a sleeping giant awakening.
Thousands of American and Mexican flags waived together as the news helicopters made passes over the crowd. It was the greatest show of patriotism I have seen my whole life, and the whole event really moved me.