LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hundreds of May Day marchers chanting slogans and carrying signs — and at least one Donald Trump piñata — took to the streets of Los Angeles on Sunday calling for immigrant and worker rights and decrying what they see as hateful presidential campaign rhetoric.
It’s one of several events in cities nationwide to call for better wages for workers, an end to deportations and support for an Obama administration plan to give work permits to immigrants in the country illegally whose children are American citizens.
“We want them to hear our voices, to know that we are here and that we want a better life, with jobs,” said Norberto Guiterrez, a 46-year-old immigrant from Mexico who joined families, union members and students who marched through downtown.
Demonstrators repeatedly called out Trump for his remarks about immigrants, workers and women. The leading Republican presidential contender has called for a wall on the border with Mexico and chided Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton for playing the so-called “woman card.”
“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.
“We can certainly encourage folks to look at what they’re watching, what they’re hearing and have them represent themselves and their families — whether they can vote or not — and say, ‘We are not the rapists. We are not the criminals you are talking about. And we are quite good for this country,'” Cabrera said.
Trump says he is not racist or anti-immigrant; he simply wants the U.S. to stop illegal immigration and control its borders.
Around the world, union members have traditionally marched on May 1 for workers’ rights. In the United States, the annual events have become a rallying point for immigrants and their supporters since massive demonstrations in 2006 against a proposed immigration enforcement bill.
In recent years, the marches have waned in size in U.S. cities, but the tradition has continued.
Large marches are planned Sunday for Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, where 16 people were arrested in last year’s demonstrations. In Seattle, a march from the city’s central district to downtown was scheduled for the afternoon, and city officials have approved a permit for the event. Later in the evening an anti-capitalist march is slated to begin in a downtown park. Authorities have not issued a permit for that gathering.
Social justice advocates in Durham, New Hampshire, said they would make the rejection of racism, xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment the themes of their annual rally.
Marches also are planned for Cleveland, Miami, San Francisco and Oakland.
“The Trump effect has taken over the media and silenced our voices,” Tomas Kennedy, an organizer of the planned Miami march, said in a statement. “It’s time to stand up against the current threat to democracy, freedom, human rights, equality, and the welfare of our country and all our people.”
Associated Press writers Edwin Tamara in Los Angeles, Amy Taxin in Orange County, Sergio Bustos in Miami and Chris Grygiel in Seattle contributed to this report.