May 02, 2008

May Day Denver Immigration Rally 2008; Updated--Pics, Video

**Update--from the blogs--Michelle Malkin has a May Day roundup; Freedom Folks was all over the Chicago events--an excellent pictorial, May Day Che Day, an encounter with a belligerent socialist, and finally a Blogs4Borders May Day special edition (video); Protest Shooter covered San Francisco

**Updated and bumped . . . morning event apparently canceled due to weather, heading out for the afternoon "Festival of Tolerance and Unity":

Arrived early and snapped a few pics of the main protest banners--but the basic message hasn't changed:

They even spell it out--no mincing words in Denver

In a cold rain/snow mix, the event organizers began to hand their signs

Putting the finishing touches as the crowd trickles in--"immigrants fighting for unity and tolerance"

Video from the opening portion of the rally that includes a nice guitar interlude--the best protest entertainment I've ever heard (I couldn't stick around for the 3 hour event--I do have other obligations!):

The protestors had particularly bad luck--a poor venue and location, bad time of day (rush hour), and a rather stiff round of "global warming" (see below for pics) to contend with this year. Turnout was down from the 75,000 in 2006 and the couple thousand from last year, with around 100 and a few trickling in as the event got going around 5pm, just as I was about to leave.

There was limited coverage from the local MSM, starting with an ode to "workers":
A small group of mostly Latino immigrants gathered at Fletcher Plaza in Aurora on Thursday to celebrate May Day and the rights of workers.

"We don't want to let this day pass without celebrating workers around the world," said organizer Homero Ocon, who immigrated to the United States nine years ago, got a green card and now owns a commercial painting company, Champion Painting, in Denver.

Ocon said he wanted to raise awareness of the difficulties that immigrants face but he primarily wanted to create some positive goals by gathering volunteers to clean up graffiti and paint the homes of the elderly, the poor and the disabled.

"We're going to change the face of what people think about immigrants," he said. "We're fighting for tolerance and unity."
It wasn't just about workers, however, as banners demanding amnesty and an end to workplace raids fluttered in the chill evening breeze:
Another organizer, Horace Kerr, said his goal for the May Day workers, which he termed "Cry of the People" was to make conditions better for immigrant workers.

"We want ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to stop the raids against immigrant workers," he said.

"We want the government to stop sending 'no-match' letters when a worker's name and Social Security numbers don't match. The next thing, there's an agent at the door and they take the worker away.

"We want the government to move quicker on processing documents for the workers. And we're against the expansion of the immigrant detention center in Aurora, which now holds about 400 people and will be expanded to hold 1,100 people.

"We struggle daily getting our basic rights to education and health care, which are sold to us as privileges," he said. "The American continent is such a rich continent, but it is filled with poor people."

As the gray and rainy evening progressed, a few more people drifted into the plaza at East Colfax Avenue and Elmira Street, drawn mostly by the amplified music and the cloth banners hanging from lampposts.

The chilly air caused the crowd to bundle and huddle together as police on Colfax drove by uninterested.
Love that last part, not that the police observing these events have ever been interested in more than keeping the peace. The activists clearly outnumbered the immigrants, "undocumented" or otherwise at this gathering.

Then again, maybe enforcement works.

Whoda thunk?

But not all government officials in the state are pro-enforcement, as evidenced by the Eagle County Commissioner's comments in this story on ICE raids in Avon, Co.

Gunny Bob of 850KOA spent three hours on the day's events--hour 1 (William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration), hour 2, hour 3 (May Day mayhem).

BTW, it appears Glenn Spagnuolo, Recreate '68, et al. are saving themselves for August's DNC, and that Tuesday's "No Borders" event.

Denver looks to have two events today--a "Festival of Tolerance & Unity" in Aurora this afternoon, and a rally at Lincoln Park at 10 am.

**Update--the "vacationing" global warming appears to have scuttled this morning's rally:

Last year

This year--with snow falling!

Denver's obscured skyline, with the Denver Convention Center in the foreground

First--the National Immigrant Solidarity Network, via Michelle Malkin:
Points of Unity

On May Day 2008, National Immigrant Solidarity Network is calling for a multi-ethnic, decentralized, multi-topic and multi-tactic national day of mobilization to support immigrant workers rights.

1. No to anti-immigrant legislation, and the criminalization of the immigrant communities.

2. No to militarization of the border.

3. No to the immigrant detention and deportation.

4. No to the guest worker program.

5. No to employer sanction and “no match” letters.

6. Yes to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

7. Yes to speedy family reunification.

8. Yes to civil rights and humane immigration law.

9. Yes to labor rights and living wages for all workers.

10. Yes to the education and LGBT immigrant legislation.

We acknowledges that there’ll be multiple call to actions from across the country to organize May Day 2008, and each coalition will present their sets of demands. We should respects each other organizing and encourage and supports everyone’s issues:

1) Multi-ethnic, Decentralized and Multi-topic mobilization: while everyone will pledge to support immigrant workers rights at May Day 2007, local groups can choose to includes any other topics for their mobilizations: civil rights, anti-war, Katrina, labor rights, health care…., etc.

2) Decentralized Multi-Tactic May Day organizing: We will encourage everyone to organize their actions at May Day, but will let local groups to decide what they want to do at the day: march, boycott, strike, lunch action, vigil, community event, conference or congressional lobby day, etc.Understanding the connections between our individual conditions of life and the lives of people everywhere in the word allows us to come together and organize across all borders. WE NEED to link the connections between: wars in Africa, south America, Asia, Iraq, Palestine & Korea with sweatshops in Asia as well as in Los Angeles, New York; international arm sales and WTO, FTAA, NAFTA & CAFTA with AIDS, hunger, child labors and child solider; multinational corporations and economic exploitation with racism and poverty at home–then we can win the struggle.Let’s all come together, on May Day 2008, to build a new immigrant rights
and civil rights movements!
Here is another list of demands, from Chicago May Day and Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH coalition (again via Michelle):
Our Demands

Legalization for All NOW !
Second Chance for All NOW !
Defend the Right to Organize
Fight for a Living Wage
Legalization for Elvira Arellano and Flor Crisostomo

End the War in Iraq, bring the Troops Home
Respect for the Self-Determination of Nations
Clean Up for Vieques
Replace Globalization with Nobilization

Stop the Separation of Families
Stop the Hate, Stop the Violence,
Stop the Guns, Stop the Drugs
Health Care for Every Family
Equal, Quality, Respectful Education
A Moratorium on Mortgage Foreclosures
Naturalize Foreign-Born Spouses of LGBT Couples
Refugee Rights for LGBT People Fleeing Persecution

Renegotiate NAFTA
Good Jobs on Both Sides of the Border

Vote for the Children
Vote for those without papers
Vote for those in and out of prison

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