Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
Update: The Arizona Republic is now reporting that at least 50 people were arrested during Thursday's protests. At least two were journalists, eventually released without charges.
It was a long, hot and heated day in Phoenix, with protests throughout downtown on the day that a pared-down SB 1070 went into effect. Opponents of the controversial anti-illegal immigration law from within and outside Arizona had long planned events to coincide with the law's implementation. And an 11-hour injunction by a federal judge on Wednesday, which blocked its most hotly contested provisions, did not deter its opponents from protesting the law as well as the political climate in Arizona.
As of late this afternoon, more than two dozen protesters had been arrested, Phoenix police said. Some remained gathered at different locations, including a small crowd at an impromtu hip-hop concert that was dispersed by police. Among the most heated protests was one in front of the central booking facility of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, where several protesters were arrested after blocking the entrance. A large crowd protested for hours outside the downtown office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose famously tough-on-illegal-immigration stance and community sweeps targeting undocumented immigrants have made him a one-man flash point in the immigration debate. Arpaio's response to the influx of protesters, in addition to the arrests, was to announce another sweep.
The protests drew regional and national media coverage, with different news outlets following different groups of protesters. The Arizona Republic, which gathered a nice set of photos, also reported that among those detained by Sheriff's deputies was one of its photographers. The Chicago Tribune reported on a protest at City Hall, while the Associated Press recorded video of some of the arrests taking place.
The implementation of SB 1070 drew protests in other parts of the country as well, including in New York, the Bay Area and Los Angeles, where protesters shut down Wilshire Boulevard, the Los Angeles Times reported. And in Yuma, someone fired a bullet into the office of a Democratic congressman who has been openly critical of the measure, the Yuma Sun reported.
The protests have wound down for the day, but more SB 1070-related gatherings are planned for coming days, including a weekend rally and other events organized by SB 1070 supporters.