LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Thousands of people marched through downtown Los Angeles as part of May Day rallies held worldwide in support of immigrants and workers’ rights.
The May Day Coalition of Los Angeles held an International Workers May Day Sunday afternoon. The rally, which soon turned into a peaceful, anti-Trump protest, drew thousands to L.A. Live.
“Trump represents the worst of America. From racists, to haters, to ones that just want to become problems for no reason,” said one demonstrator.
Another said, “What we’ve seen is our public discourse turned away from civility into something ugly. We want to remind folks that people are human beings and we’re here, that we’re going to be showing up at the ballot box making sure that our needs are represented as well.”
Frustration was fueled — some say — by the fervor of the Republican candidate’s own words. For the crowd of largely Latinos, Trump’s campaign rhetoric has been seen as a personal attack.
“Trump’s speech is hate speech, definitely. We wanted to show that we can confront that speech in a smart way,” said another demonstrator.
A second rally was organized by the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, which ended around 3 p.m. Wrapped in an American flag, Miriam Hernandez was among a couple of hundred people who attended it.
“We are here just to work and create a better life for our families,” said Hernandez, whose mother and brothers are back home in Mexico. “I haven’t seen my family for a very very long time.”
She and the others at the rally hope their message resonates in Washington, D.C.: they want immigration reform.
Luis Gallardo, a 16-year-old from Bell, says he desperately wants to become a citizen. His parents brought him here when he was 2.
And without that path to citizenship, he believes he won’t have a smooth path to a good future.
“When it comes to financial aid for college I’m gonna be struggling,” he said.
Half of those at the second rally were there for immigration reform, while the other half were preaching a message for a revolution in the U.S., something the immigration rally organizer said he wasn’t too happy about.
“Well, unfortunately, as the LAPD says ‘you cannot prevent anybody from joining a public demo,’ ” he said.
Those people did bring what they called “Trump-zilla.”
Protesters seeking immigration reform hope their message has an impact:
“I don’t hurt anyone. I’m here just to work. And make this country a better country every single day,” Hernandez said.