Monday, May 01, 2006

Protests in San Jose

Over a hundred thousand people marched down the streets of San Jose in protest of the proposed immigration reform, said Captain Diane Urban of the San Jose Police Department.

90 officers were assigned to cover to event, Urban reported as protesters dispersed around her. “The protest was generally peaceful,” said police, who also said several people were arrested for allegedly carrying weapons and being drunk in public. Urban reported that alleged stabbings also led to at least one arrest.

“We were originally supposed to provide traffic management,” she said of the protests, “we [ended up having] to provide enforcement as well.”

While some protesters gathered at Arena Green East between 11:30 and 12:00 this afternoon, the main protest began at around 3:40p.m., said police, with several thousand people stretching from the HP Pavilion to the 280 overpass and beyond.

“People are just walking around,” said one woman passing on the street.

The Guardian Unlimited reported today that several organizations called for a boycott on the buying and producing of all products, asking protesters to stay home from work.

Thang Le, who works at Lee’s Sandwiches, commented about the passing protesters. “We actually had an increase of people buying food and water today,” said Le, adding that no additional security was necessary. “We felt safe,” he said, “it was a peaceful [protest].”

The protest was in response to the passage of bill HR 4437 by the House of Representatives in December, which many felt was unjustly aimed at Mexican Americans. The majority of protesters today were Latinos, many of which waved American, Mexican, and South American flags.