Seattle May Day march intensified by AZ immigrant bill
by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
On May 1, as Calvin Borel won his third Kentucky Derby in the last four years, thousands of workers poured into the streets of Seattle's Central District to march downtown for International Workers' Day. Participants chanted in Spanish and English, calling on Congress and President Barack Obama to reform the nation's immigration policies.
In the last decade, International Workers' Day has taken a new form. Originally conceived of to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Haymarket Square massacre in Chicago of 1886 when police fired on striking workers demanding an eight-hour workday, International Workers' Day now focuses heavily on immigration reform. Thus, the crowd consisted largely of church groups, immigrants' rights groups, and workers' unions.
Mayday marches all across the country saw increased participation over past years as a result of Arizona's new law on illegal immigrants, which requires law enforcement to question people about immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.
Civil rights advocates have said the law is unconstitutional and encourages racial profiling and discrimination against immigrants or anyone thought to be an immigrant.
The Seattle march was lead by local immigration reform and social justice organization, El Comité.
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