L.A. police ready for May Day rally

09:57, May 02, 2011      

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The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has dispatched enough officers to downtown areas where thousands of people are expected to gather on May Day to press for immigration reform in the nation, authorities said on Sunday.

Officials estimated that at least 10,000 immigrants and their supporters will march through downtown Los Angeles in support of the government creating a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented people already here.

Enough officers will be on duty to handle the crowd, even it grows as large as 50,000 people, said Deputy Chief Jose Perez.

While permits for the marches anticipated about 10,000 people, as many as 50,000 could turn out, according to organizers.

The LAPD said its public information director, Mary Grady, will be "tweeting" updates on the demonstrations, and if police declare the gathering an unlawful assembly, the news media will be alerted. Reporters will be allowed to cross skirmish lines once.

Police don't a want a replay of the disastrous May 1, 2007, rally in which some people were roughed up and injured as police tried to break up crowds in MacArthur Park, officials said.

The city was sued later for violation of human rights and paid out about 13 million dollars in legal settlements.

May Day rallies and marches have become an annual event since then.

Sunday's rallies are organized by the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, which is supported by labor unions, and the Southern California Immigration Coalition.

Several downtown streets will be closed most of the day, starting at 6 a.m.

Marches similar to the ones in Los Angeles are planned across the nation.

Recent estimates put the number of illegal immigrants in the United States around 11 million, down from estimates of about 12 million in 2007.

Deportations reached a record high last year, with more than 392,000 people removed from the United States, about half of them convicted criminals, according to the Washington Post.

Source: Xinhua
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