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L.A.'s May Day Marches Peaceful, but Small

By Eric Richardson
Published: Saturday, May 02, 2009, at 02:22PM
May Day March Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Marchers hold cards spelling out "Workers First" for the TV helicopters hovering overhead.



Marchers who made their way from Echo Park to Downtown held up red and white cards on Friday afternoon to spell out "Workers First," a creative twist for a day in which six marches failed to generate significant turnout.

Approximately 6,000 marchers were split between the various efforts as organizers chose to create different events rather than work together in a single protest calling for new immigration rules.

After traveling from Echo Park past City Hall, the "May First Day of Action in Support of Workers Rights" march ended on North Main, next to Olvera Street, where organizers had drawn out a grid of roughly 1,500 squares in chalk on the roadway. Marchers found a square and were given instructions on how to hold the red or white card above their heads.

The stunt, designed for the TV helicopters hovering overhead, spelled out "Workers First." That was news to two marchers who came over to photographers afterward and asked "What did we spell?"

Overall, turnout had to be disappointing for organizers who had hoped to get tens of thousands out in support of their cause. The day's first march up Broadway attracted 2,000 - 3,000 marchers, but only it and the Echo Park originated march (1,500 - 2,000) broke a thousand participants. The "March for Immigrants" managed approximately 600, with the combined "May First Annual Boycott March" and "Immigrant Rights/Legalize LA" attracting perhaps 800.

The scattered routes and logistics left Downtown's afternoon traffic snarled, and made for confusing trips for those taking -- and driving -- buses.

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May Day Marches

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