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Gutierrez said the May 29 march is part of a larger strategy to get Arizona's new law repealed and usher the politicians to change federal immigration policy.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