Thousands of community advocates and immigrant rights supporters took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles Thursday and marched for worker rights and immigrant justice.
Three different May Day marches were planned by three groups. As a result of the marches, some downtown streets were closed Thursday, starting at 9 a.m.
A clutter of signs could be seen from far away. Some marchers carried banners that read "Stop Deportation Now" and "Wash Away Injustice."
Some groups waived gay pride flags as they made their way through the shut down streets of downtown LA.
Broadway between 11th Street and Ord Street, Aliso Street between Broadway and Alameda Street, and Alameda Street between Cesar Chavez Avenue and Temple Street were closed, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
The closures could last until 7 p.m.
The first protest, under the banner of “Keep Families Together,” began in Chinatown. A crowd gathered at Broadway and West Cesar E Chavez at 10 a.m. and began rallying around 10:45 a.m. The crowd marched southbound on Broadway, sastbound on Aliso and then southbound on Alameda to the Federal Detention Center on 535 N. Alameda Street at 11:30 a.m. A second rally began at the detention center at 12:45 p.m. Protestors were demanding a minimum wage increase and an end to deportation.
"May Day started when immigrant workers were demanding the 8-hour workday," Maria Elena Durazo of the LA Co. Federation of Labor said. "There’s rampant abuse of workers. They don’t get paid. They just get paid tips. They don’t get paid overtime. Health and safety violations are rampant."
'We know that their immigration status has everything to do with why employers abuse them, take advantage of them, that’s why we need to change the immigration laws," Durazo said.
Mayra Flores is a McDonald's employee who is fighting for higher wages while supporting her brother who was detained.
“It’s a special day. Today is my brother’s birthday and I want him to know that I am here for him and that he’s not alone and that I’m standing right by his side,” Flores said.
Another march was scheduled between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The crowd gathered at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Broadway, march northbound on Broadway to Temple and will conclude the rally at 3 p.m., according to the LAPD.
The Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) and other supporters gathered at Olympic and Boulevard and Broadway and were set to march northbound on Broadway to 3rd Street at 3 p.m. The march and rally were expected to conclude at 6:30 p.m.
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"The Democratic Party's strategy for immigration reform has completely failed our community. President Obama has deported more than two million people and we know that there will not be any reform anytime soon," said Ron Gochez, founding member of SCIC and member of Union del Barrio.
"This year we are asking people to march to pressure the President to use the power of the executive office to stop deportations immediately."
Bus commuters should also prepare accordingly. DASH routes A, B, D and E will be affected because of the May Day protests. More information can be found here.
The map below shows the area of downtown LA affected by the May Day protests.