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May Day in L.A.

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It's May Day in Los Angeles, the international workers celebration that has come to stand for immigrant workers' rights in Southern California. That means lots of marches and rallies, but the varied interests of different immigrant rights coalitions has split the unity of 2007's controversial pro-immigration gatherings.

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The Los Angeles Times reports on some of the issues splitting the coalition:

Most of the groups agree on the same policy measures -- legalize illegal immigrants, stop work-site and residential raids, and end the separation of families through deportations....But Jorge Rodriguez of the March 25 Coalition, which organized the massive marches three years ago, said he failed in repeated attempts to persuade other coalitions to unify into one march. He blamed the failure on the "egos" of others....

Hamid Khan of the South Asian Network said real policy differences divided the groups, one reason his organization planned to rally in Artesia this year rather than join the Los Angeles marches. He said he has not garnered much support from other coalitions for his group's concerns, such as how national security and immigration laws have been jointly used to detain and deport immigrants from Pakistan and other South Asian nations.

Nativo Lopez, whose Mexican American Political Assn. is now part of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, said he was unwilling to support measures that other advocates accepted, such as e-verify, an electronic method to confirm employees' work status.

"Why would anyone expect everyone to put our differences aside to artificially demonstrate people are unified when they're not?" he asked. ["Immigration Activists Plan May Day Rallies," L.A. Times]

Still, at least seven May Day marches will happen today throughout L.A., four of them downtown. For street closures causes by the marches, see this page from L.A. city traffic info. The Daily News reports on bus route diversions caused by the rallies.

In 2007, L.A.'s May Day rallies lead to some mostly police-instigated violence that made national news. I commented on it at the time for Reason magazine. A L.A. Times account of the nearly $13 million payoff the city had to make to people who sued the city claiming they were hurt or abused by police misconduct on that day two years ago.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Jenlund70. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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