Thousands plan May 1 marches in US in heated election year

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands are expected to rally in cities across the United States on Sunday for immigrant and worker rights and against what they see as hateful presidential campaign rhetoric.

Events are planned in cities from New York to Los Angeles 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.

Organizers said they will also speak out against hateful rhetoric targeting immigrants, workers and women following remarks by leading Republican presidential contender Donald Trump. Trump 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 that he is not racist or anti-immigrant. He simply wants the U.S. to stop illegal immigration and control its borders, he says.

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 on Sunday for Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, where 16 people were arrested in last year’s demonstrations. Marches are also planned for Cleveland, Miami, San Francisco and Oakland, California.

“The Trump effect has taken over the media and silenced our voices,” said Tomas Kennedy, an organizer of the planned Miami march, 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 Sergio Bustos in Miami and Chris Grygiel in Seattle contributed to this report.

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