About 150 students from Garfield High School in Los Angeles were protesting the election of Donald J. Trump Monday by walking off campus and marching toward Mariachi Plaza for a planned rally.
At about 9 a.m., the students, carrying signs and the flags of the United States and Mexico, were walking from the campus toward Mariachi Plaza east of downtown Los Angeles. By late morning, students from campuses including Roosevelt, Lincoln and Mendez high schools joined in the march, all walking toward the large-scale rally.
Some students said they felt compelled to march to make their voices heard and demand that they and their immigrant families be protected.
Los Angeles County has an undocumented immigrant population estimated as high as 800,000, about 12 percent of the county's 10 million residents, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. The agency estimates that nearly 40 percent of adult undocumented immigrants live with children who were born in the United States. An estimated 13 percent of K-12 students in California have a parent who is an undocumented immigrant, according to PPIC.
A hard-line stance on immigrant was a central theme of President-elect Trump's campaign, but the Manhattan billionaire businessman said during his first post-election interview that he will focus on deporting criminal immigrants and not everyone living in the United States illegally. Trump also said he might be amenable to a fence along some parts of the roughly 2,000-mile border instead of the wall he proposed during the campaign.
As a candidate for president, he called for everyone living in the country illegally to return to their home countries and for Mexico to pay billions of dollars for the wall.
Earlier Monday, Los Angeles police had warned of the impending demonstrations in a statement that stated: "It is very difficult to ensure the safety of children when they leave the safe confines of their school campuses."
The statement encouraged parents "to discuss with their children the importance of abiding by the law and ensuring that any expression of opinion should be done in a lawful, safe and peaceful manner."
The statement warned that protesters who are not peaceful and lawful are subject to arrest for such violations as obstruction of movement of vehicles and people, refusal to obey a lawful order by a law enforcement officer, vandalism and refusal to disperse after an unlawful assembly is declared.
Thousands of students around Los Angeles County walked out of schools last week to demonstrate against the election outcome, prompting Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King to advise students they can participate in on-campus demonstrations as long as they are peaceful and during non-instructional times, but they are not permitted to leave school.