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Thousands Join May Day March For Immigration Reform

By aaroncynic in News on May 2, 2013 10:00PM

Thousands of demonstrators turned up for the annual May Day march from Union Park to the Loop demanding immigration reform and a halt to deportations. After gathering in the park beginning in the early afternoon, demonstrators stepped off at about 3 p.m. with huge banners, flags and puppets.

The annual march, commemorating the struggle for workers rights throughout history which also marks the Haymarket Riot of 1886 generally focuses on immigration issues as well as rights for undocumented persons. Eric Rodriguez, executive director of the Latino Union of Chicago, told Progress Illinois “We are in the middle of a horrific human crisis. Immigration is way, way far away from being fixed; deportations are breaking families apart and orphaning children every day.”

Prior to the large march in the afternoon, a smaller group of people held an anti-capitalist demonstration in parts of the Loop and along the Magnificent Mile. Nearly 100 gathered in City Front Plaza and marched down Michigan Avenue with black and red flags, sometimes managing to take the street for a brief period of time. A scuffle broke out during the march after a bystander came out of a shop along Michigan Avenue, punched a demonstrator, then ducked back inside. In an unrelated incident, one demonstrator was arrested for not complying with orders to get back on the sidewalk. The demonstrators later left flowers at the Haymarket memorial on their way to join the larger march.

After marching from Union Park through the Loop, the larger rally concluded in Federal Plaza with speakers from a variety of groups as well as Senator Dick Durbin. “We have the best chance we've had in 25 years to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year in Washington, D.C. We need to seize that opportunity," Durbin told the crowd.