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Thousands Rally in Downtown LA for May Day March

Thousands of people rallied in the streets of downtown Los Angeles Sunday for annual May Day marches supporting rights for immigrants and improved conditions for workers, while also rallying against what they see as hateful presidential campaign rhetoric.

"The housekeepers in the hotels, the cooks and the dishwashers -- they make this nation strong," Maria Elena Durazo of Unite Here said to a crowd.

Demonstrators carrying signs and chanting slogans have taken to the streets at two marches that began at 12:30 p.m. downtown.

  • The May Day Coalition of Los Angeles gathered at 11th and Figueroa streets, to march east on 11th Street and north on Los Angeles Street, ending with a rally on Aliso Street northeast of the Civic Center area.
  • The Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition held a march and rally, themed "Build Bridges Not Walls,'' with participants gathering at Broadway and Olympic Boulevard. The group will march north on Broadway and Spring Street, ending with a rally at Grand Park in the Civic Center area.

Police urged motorists to avoid the area and plan alternate routes.


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Organizers spoke out against hateful rhetoric targeting immigrants, workers and women following remarks by leading Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.

Trump has called for a wall on the border with Mexico and chided Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton for playing the so-called "woman card."

Hundreds of marchers also moved a large inflateable "Trumpzilla" down Broadway. 

"In addition to fighting for workers' rights, we are fighting for our dignity this time around, our self-respect," said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

Police said that no arrests were made, and despite a minor confrontation, the marches were peaceful.

More than 120 parking tickets were issued, and 60 cars were towed.

For more than a century, International Workers' Day has been celebrated on May 1 to mark the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago, when a bomb turned a worker rally into a deadly event.

The marches have roots in labor movements calling for worker rights. But it recent years, demonstrations in the United States have taken up various timely causes.

Large marches are also planed in Portland, Cleveland, Miami, San Francisco and Oakland. 

Copyright Associated Press/NBC Southern California 

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