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Thousands Call For Immigration Reform In May Day Marches

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DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Thousands are expected to take to the streets of downtown L.A. for two competing May Day demonstrations calling for immigration reform and workers’ rights.

The biggest march, organized by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, will begin at noon and move northbound on Broadway from Olympic Boulevard. It will end with a rally at 1st Street featuring dancers, musicians and speakers from labor and community groups.

Competing in Sunday’s pro-immigrant outpouring will be the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition — which has support from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and other labor and community groups — and the smaller, grass-roots Southern California Immigration Coalition. The march will start at 12:30 p.m. and conclude with a rally at 4th Street.

The Southern California group alleges its larger rival is funded and led by the Democratic Party, which some criticize for stalling reforms and increasing the deportation of illegal immigrants.

Although event organizers told the Los Angeles Times that more than 50,000 people could turn out Sunday, permits sought for the march planned for about 10,000.

Police officials say enough officers will be on duty to handle crowds of up to 50,000 people.

“We are going to have a large enough deployment to handle anything,” said Deputy police Chief Jose Perez.

“Our posture will be consistent with what we’ve had the last two years. We want to keep a lid on anything, but, ideally, we are going to maintain a low profile and facilitate allowing everybody to express their 1st Amendment views in a peaceful and organized manner.”

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

Several downtown streets and intersections will be closed until 5 p.m.: Broadway between Olympic Boulevard and Temple Street; Spring Street between Olympic Boulevard and Temple Street; Hill Street between Olympic Boulevard and Temple Street; and First Street between Main Street and Grand Avenue.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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