May Day march

Thou­sands in U.S. rally against Trump, for work­ers

Cape Breton Post - - News | World - BY STEVE PEO­PLES AND AMY TAXIN

Sev­eral hun­dred teach­ers pick­eted out­side Philadel­phia schools early Mon­day as thou­sands more im­mi­grants and union mem­bers across the United States pre­pared a se­ries of strikes, boy­cotts and marches to protest U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies.

The demon­stra­tions on May Day, cel­e­brated as In­ter­na­tional Work­ers’ Day, fol­low sim­i­lar ac­tions world­wide in which protesters from the Philip­pines to Paris de­manded bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions. There were vi­o­lent clashes and mass ar­rests in some in­stances.

In the United States, there were no re­ports of vi­o­lence, but protesters vowed to par­tic­i­pate in civil dis­rup­tions through­out the day to draw at­ten­tion to the im­por­tance of im­mi­grants in Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties.

“On this day, we will not go to work. We will not go to school. We will not buy any­thing,” said Fran­cisca San­ti­ago, a farm­worker from Home­stead, Florida.

In Philadel­phia, about 1,000 school teach­ers, who’ve been work­ing with­out a con­tract for years, protested out­side schools around the city. Sup­port­ive par­ents joined the teach­ers, many of whom took sick days to protest. Schools were open and the district said it was work­ing with prin­ci­pals and sub­sti­tute teach­ers to make sure classes would not be dis­rupted.

In Washington, D.C., com­mer­cial con­struc­tion com­pany owner Sal­vador Ze­laya paid his em­ploy­ees to take the day off to at­tend a march. The Sal­vado­rian busi­ness leader said his 18 work­ers were spend­ing the morn­ing mak­ing ban­ners to take to a rally that will end in front of the White House.

Zalaya of­fered a sim­ple mes­sage for the pres­i­dent: “All of us, we are im­mi­grants. We came to this coun­try. We work hard. We build up our own busi­ness. We em­ploy peo­ple. We pay taxes and we make Amer­ica great.”

The White House had no im­me­di­ate re­sponse to the May Day demon­stra­tions.

Much of the ac­tion was ex­pected later Mon­day. Tens of thou­sands of im­mi­grants and their al­lies planned to rally in ma­jor cities, in­clud­ing New York, Chicago, Seat­tle and Los An­ge­les. Demon­stra­tions were ex­pected in dozens of smaller cities from Ft. Laud­erdale, Florida, to Port­land, Ore­gon.

While union mem­bers tra­di­tion­ally march on May 1 for work­ers’ rights in coun­tries around the world, the day has be­come a ral­ly­ing point for im­mi­grants in the U.S. since mas­sive demon­stra­tions were held on the date in 2006 against a pro­posed im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment bill.

In re­cent years, im­mi­grant rights protests shrank as groups di­verged and shifted their fo­cus on voter reg­is­tra­tion and lob­by­ing. Larger crowds were ex­pected to re­turn this year as im­mi­grant groups have joined with Mus­lim or­ga­ni­za­tions, women’s ad­vo­cates and oth­ers in their united op­po­si­tion to Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion poli­cies.

“We have never seen such an out­pour­ing of sup­port since we have since the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump,” said Kica Matos, a spokes­woman for the Fair Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form Move­ment.

In his first 100 days, Trump has ag­gres­sively pur­sued im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment, in­clud­ing ex­ec­u­tive or­ders for a wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der and a ban on trav­ellers from six pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries. The gov­ern­ment has ar­rested thou­sands of im­mi­grants in the coun­try il­le­gally and threat­ened to with­hold fund­ing from ju­ris­dic­tions that limit co-op­er­a­tion be­tween lo­cal and fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.

In re­sponse, lo­cal lead­ers have vowed to fight back and civic par­tic­i­pa­tion has seen a boost, in­clud­ing Fe­bru­ary’s “Day With­out Im­mi­grants.” The travel ban and sanc­tu­ary or­der were tem­po­rar­ily halted by le­gal chal­lenges.

AP PHOTO

Protesters march in a May Day demon­stra­tion on Mon­day near City Hall in Philadel­phia.

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