Hundreds march for immigrant workers’ rights

The group marched to celebrate May Day and advocate workers’ rights reform.

A group of protestors march down Lake Street on Friday during a demonstration. The march was organized by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition and had over 300 people in attendance.

Jules Ameel

A group of protestors march down Lake Street on Friday during a demonstration. The march was organized by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition and had over 300 people in attendance.

Protected by more than 10 police officers, about 300 people marched down East Lake Street in Minneapolis Friday in support of workers’ rights reform to celebrate May Day. The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action coalition organized the march across Midtown Minneapolis, which coincided with similar workersâÄô rights marches all around the world. Several May Day events in Turkey, Germany, Austria and Greece turned violent, but there were no arrests or outbursts during the Minneapolis march. Marchers walked in one lane, which slowed traffic for miles going on East Lake Street and multiple crossroads. The MIRAc participants were marching against deportation raids and were advocating for the unconditional legalization of immigrants in the United States. Multiple organizations marched, including the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Students for a Democratic Society. SDS member Tracy Molm said she came out to help show support for the amnesty of immigrants in the United States. âÄúWe fight for the rights and dignity of people in Iraq,âÄù she said. âÄúThereâÄôs no reason we shouldnâÄôt do it in our own country.âÄù MIRAc member Eduardo Cardenas said he thought the turnout could have been better, but he said some people stayed in because of the H1N1 flu scare. MIRAc tried and failed to receive a permit to march. Cardenas said not having a permit also kept some people from marching because some of the immigrants feared suffering consequences for walking. âÄúPeople live in fear. We have to provide as much assurance as possible,âÄù Cardenas said. Permits for public events are written specifically for parades and block parties as opposed to political marches , Cardenas said. Although the group didnâÄôt receive a permit to march, the Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution in support of the march. Minneapolis Police Lt. Rob Skoro said officers came out to ensure the safety of the marchers as they walked the crowded streets. âÄúItâÄôs more to assure our community that there is support from the city that they will be safe,âÄù Skoro said of the police presence. Most of the protection the police provided was from the cars driving around the march, which began at 4 p.m . in the middle of Friday rush hour. Members of MIRAc served as marshals and helped relay messages from police officers to marchers. On some cross streets, police directed traffic, allowing buses to go through a gap in the march. However, some people had to wait for the march before they could drive across the crowded street. Lisa Duvick, a University lab medicine and pathology senior scientist , was waiting at a cross street for about five minutes during the march. She said it wasnâÄôt a problem that she had to wait but she said she wished the marchers had sent a clearer message. Multiple groups including anarchists, immigrants, students and union workers came to support May Day festivities. Duvick said the diverse groups were sending different messages. âÄúIf theyâÄôre going to protest, I think it should be clear what theyâÄôre walking for,âÄù Duvick said.