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Police arrest anti-SB 1070 demonstrators Thursday

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Police arrest anti-SB 1070 demonstrators Thursday

Tucson police arrested 11 people during a protest of SB 1070 on Thursday afternoon, the day that the new anti-immigration law took effect.

"They were all arrested for disorderly conduct. They didn't have any identification so nobody got booked into jail," said Andy Silverman, the lawyer who represented those arrested.

"They were treated well," said Silverman.

The demonstrators entered the intersection of Congress Street and Granada Avenue during rush hour traffic and held up banners protesting SB 1070.

"They were moving the banners around to block traffic," said Francisco Baires, a demonstrator who witnessed the arrests.

"There were three crews of people with banners. For a moment it was just us then other people got in the intersection and started dancing and chanting," said Rob Block, one of those who was arrested.

"We probably had more than 100 supporters in the street with us," said Jessica Lamberton, another of those arrested.

"We held banners in the intersection of Congress and Granada and we refused to leave," said Morgan Apicella, who also was arrested.

The demonstrators were not immediately arrested after entering the intersection. "After we were out there for about 45 minutes the police told us to leave," said Lamberton.

The Tucson Police Department was prepared for the demonstrators. "We had a tactical operations plan for this that we followed all day," said Capt. Mike Gillooly, chief of staff for the Tucson Police Department.

"After they took over the intersection we decided we had to clear the intersection," said Capt. Gillooly.

The demonstrators were asked via loudspeaker to clear the intersection. When the demonstrators refused to leave, police officers on bicycles encircled the group holding the banners and anyone who was inside the perimeter was arrested, said Capt. Gillooly.

The arrests did not come as a surprise to some of the demonstrators. Arrests have become part of the process of demonstrating and help draw attention to the issue in question. "The idea was to block traffic. I intended to get arrested," said Lamberton.

"We went in intending to get arrested for an act of civil disobedience," said Block. "I was glad to be able to contribute to something that will be seen across the country. People need to stand up to these problems."

"There've been a lot of protests already this year. We needed to escalate things a little," said Apicella. "Even with the injunction there is still a lot of work to do."

Another man, a supporter of SB 1070, was arrested during the protest on charges of threats and intimidation.

Curtis Prendergast also writes for The Sonoran Chronicle.

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