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Tens of thousands protest SB 1070 at Phoenix march

Tens of thousands of protesters marched on Arizona's State Capitol in Phoenix Saturday as they demonstrated against the state's controversial immigration law, SB 1070.

A pro-1070 rally was held Saturday evening at Tempe Diablo Stadium. An estimated 5 - 7,000 turned out to support the law, which requires police to determine the immigration status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally.

For live reports from the "Stand with Arizona" rally, follow the Twitter stream of Nick Martin of HeatCity.org.

Those opposed to the law marched the five miles from Steele Indian School Park to the Capitol, with the crowd taking from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to complete the trek in 95 degree heat. The march reportedly stretched for a half-mile along Third Street in Phoenix.

March organizers predicted a crowd of 50,000 would turn out for the anti-1070 demonstration. Estimates of the crowd's size varied Saturday afternoon, with some social media reports claiming that as many as 100,000 showed up.

Before the march began, AzCapitolTimes.com interviewed a state legislator about the demonstration:

Alfredo Gutierrez, a former Democratic state senator and one of the directors of Somos America, a Hispanic civil rights organization, estimated the crowd to be above 50,000 and said similar marches typically double in size before they reach the Capitol.

Gutierrez said the May 29 march is part of a larger strategy to get Arizona's new law repealed and usher the politicians to change federal immigration policy.

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"It's going to be a long and difficult summer with this new law going into effect," Gutierrez said, "but we're going to have actions like this, with thousands of people coming out to resist the law, take part in civic engagement, show that we're not backing down and promote regime change."

The East Valley Tribune gave a smaller take on the size of the crowd:

Police declined to estimate the size of the crowd, but it appeared at least 10,000 to 20,000 protesters braved temperatures that were forecast to reach 95 degrees by mid-afternoon. Organizers had said they expected the demonstration to bring as many as 50,000 people.

Check back for updates.

What's your take?

If you attended either event, tell us about it. How many people were there, what were protesters - pro and con - saying about SB 1070?

- 30 -
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Latest comments on this storyRead all 6 »

May 31, 2010, 8:53 am
-1 +1

@greattt, When laws are unjust, it is our obligation as Americans to resist them (we are not 1930s Germans “just obeying orders”). This law is racist because it is part of the plan of white supremacists (which includes eliminating classes where students learn about all people’s contributions to our country). Here’s a link that gives information about Russell Pearce, who is SB1070’s sponsor, and his connections with self-proclaimed neo-Nazis (with pictures). http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/profiling-arizona-legislator-russell. There’s a lot more out there, if you look for it. I find him and his buddies quite scary, and they don’t represent me or most other Arizonans. Thanks for your comment. lily

May 31, 2010, 2:22 am
-1 +2

It’s high time to get a handle on illegal immigration. SB 1070 is not about race but the rule of law.
However we need to hear your opinion at //link removed//

Cast your vote - each comment counts.

May 30, 2010, 3:15 pm
-0 +1

@Dylan, Thanks for your interest and for the article. Unfortunately, I can’t be that helpful about the speakers because the rally at the Capitol started long before the march was over (which is quite common), and by the time I got to the Capitol, I just found a spot in the shade and watched the crowd and talked to people. So, I didn’t hear much from the stage except music.

One big problem in the media coverage so far is the assumption that most people who marched were Mexican. It seemed to me that most people who marched were American (yes, even the ones carrying the “Undocumented and Unafraid” posters), who understand that we will all have to prove our right to be here, since no one can tell who is a citizen just by looking at them (btw, I’m white-skinned and my ancestors are from Europe). The recent case in the Midwest where an American citizen of Puerto Rican descent was imprisoned for three days even AFTER he produced his birth certificate is horrifying. Supporters of this bill keep denying that this will lead to racial profiling, but I and many others think they are very wrong. The connection with white supremacist groups (including FAIR, which helped to draft this bill, and is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups), the disgusting comments you can see on the blogs and websites, the supporters who proudly identify themselves as Nazis (including Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who said it was a compliment), and the fact that this tactic mimics southern Jim Crow laws that were designed to prevent eligible U.S. citizens from voting—all of that screams to me that some people are afraid of those who are different from them and will do anything possible to keep them down. This is sad, and I hope that the good people of AZ and the nation will say “No. This is not who we are as a people.” I also hope that you will keep digging, Dylan, because as a reporter you can educate people. Thanks. lily

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Tens of thousands marched against SB 1070 on Saturday in Phoenix.

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