OAKLAND (KRON) — Four people have been arrested in Oakland Monday morning as May Day protests take over Bay Area streets.
Authorities did not describe the details leading up to the four arrests, which were reported around 10:20 a.m.
Police were threatening more arrests at the Alameda County Administration Building as more than 100 protesters demand an end to what they say is a collaboration between county law enforcement and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Chanting, “We want justice for our people,” waving signs and cheering, more than 1,000 people gathered peacefully in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood Monday in honor of May Day and in support of immigrant rights.
The protesters were also beating a drum chanting “the people united will never be defeated” in English and Spanish.
A broad coalition of groups joined in the tenth annual observance of International Workers Day by Oakland Sin Fronteras, a labor organization that supports immigrant rights.
“Our purpose is to show the country we have organized to defend the rights of all,” said Tracy Nguyen, one of the organizers of the event. “We are making a stand during the time of the Trump administration, which attacks immigrants, workers, people of color, LGBTQ people and Muslims,” Nguyen said.
While May 1 traditionally focuses on workers and workers’ rights, this year’s event clearly focused on immigrants.
“Many in our community are afraid now to go to school, to work,” Denise Solis of Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West told the crowd. “As immigrant women we face attacks against us, sexual battery, and we are afraid to report it to the police for fear of being reported to immigration [officials]. This is not right.”
Maria Trujillo of SEIU, another speaker, added, “No estan solo. You are not alone. We will fight together and we will win.”
More than anything else, unity was the theme of the event, which more than 1,000 people signed up to attend on the Oakland Sin Fronteras Facebook page.
After the speeches, the group set off down International Boulevard to San Antonio Park, where the event continued. Marchers hoisted banners reading, “Immigrant rights are human rights,” and, perhaps most symbolic of all, a blazing red flag that read ‘Xicana’ waved immediately next to LGBTQ rainbow flags.
The term “Xicana” is a variant of “Chicana” that acknowledges the indigenous roots of women from Mexico, according to Reyna Jauregui of Oakland.
“It just happened this way,” Jauregui said of her position next to the rainbow flag.
“But I do feel we are united. We are all in this together,” Jauregui said, expertly wrangling the giant Xicana flag in one hand and a Popsicle in the other.
“It’s called intersectionality,” said Jill Friedman, an Oakland photographer who attended the event. “You can’t just stand with one inequity. You can’t be an environmentalist and not deal with white supremacy.”
Gehad Massoud of Fremont, a Muslim woman who attended wearing a headscarf, said, “I came because it’s the duty of every American and every worker to stand up for those who are struggling – and that includes ourselves.”
Francesco Bishop Falcone and Scott Bishop Falcone of Berkeley said they married on May 1 three years ago in solidarity with workers’ rights.
“Both of us had experiences as immigrants, but we are deluxe immigrants who have been allowed to thrive. We feel everyone should have that right,” Scott Bishop Falcone said.
Other than the four arrested Monday morning, police said there were no reports of any injuries, property damage, arrests. or citations during the rally.
Across the Bay, protesters were already gathering outside the ICE building in San Francisco with signs and banners as early as 8:00 a.m.
Thousands of people marched down San Francisco’s Market Street Monday in a peaceful event marking International Workers Day, or May Day, in support of immigrants’ rights.
One massive banner reads “Sanctuary For All,” and requires a small crew of people just to hold it up straight.
— Will Tran (@KRON4WTran) May 1, 2017
Hundreds of people were expected to march outside of various Immigration and Customs Enforcement Buildings and other prominent city locations throughout the Bay Area.
The day began with a protest outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement in which activists blockaded the agency’s garage, attempting to block the buses the deport migrants.
By 11 a.m. a large crowd of protesters, many carrying signs critical of Trump administration immigration policies, had gathered for a rally at Justin Herman Plaza before a march down Market Street to Civic Center Plaza.
The protesters aimed to shut down business and are demanding an end to what they call the Trump administration’s “racist, anti-immigration policies.”
The group is also demanding an end to the Urban Shield SWAT training exercises, and to stop a planned expansion of a jail east of San Francisco.
Streets around the Sansome Street office are closed as a few hundred residents, immigrants, youth, and workers march in the area. Some buses have been rerouted and motorists are advised to avoid the area.
Meanwhile, demonstrators are gathering at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles for a May Day rally in opposition to President Trump’s crackdown on immigration.
Organizers say tens of thousands are expected to march downtown to City Hall on Monday after groups that held separate May 1 events in the past joined together this year.
Protesters hoisted signs reading “Build bridges not walls” and “No human being is illegal.”
Another gathering is planned later in Boyle Heights, an eastside neighborhood known for its predominantly Latino population.
In San Jose, hundreds of workers, including tech industry employees, were expected to turn out for a May Day rally. The event took place at 1 p.m. at Mexican Heritage Plaza at 1700 Alum Rock Ave.
Details and updates on the event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/718470045001324/?active_tab=discussion
In Concord, activists have scheduled a May Day rally and march to begin at 4 p.m. at Meadow Homes Park at 1351 Detroit Ave. Participants will rally to defend immigrant rights and to call on city leaders to make Concord a sanctuary city.
Similar rallies are gearing up in other Southern California cities including San Diego.
Immigrant advocates say they want to send a message to the White House and Congress to rethink efforts to expand deportations.
May Day marches were also planned in Santa Rosa.
Immigrant advocates say they hope large crowds will get Trump and congressional lawmakers to rethink efforts to expand deportations and pressure local governments to assist federal deportation agents.
Around the world, union members traditionally march on May 1 for workers’ rights. In the U.S., the event became a rallying point for immigrants in 2006 when more than 1 million people marched against a proposed immigration enforcement bill.
Bay City News contributed to this report.
For a full list of May Day protest events across the Bay Area, click here.
— Will Tran (@KRON4WTran) May 1, 2017
WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:
- 6-figure salary considered “low-income” in parts of Bay Area
- 40 to 60 teens swarm Oakland BART train, rob passengers
- Dispatch audio from Oakland BART train attack, robbery
- VIDEO: Starbucks barista has meltdown over Unicorn Frappuccino
- Official: 3-year-old died after car window closed on neck
- Couple accused of trying to murder baby in San Leandro McDonald’s
- Mountain lion snatches dog off bed inside of Pescadero home