May 1 rally organizers say Los Angeles should expect big turnout

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Brian Watt/KPCC

Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of the Korean Resource Center, discusses logistics for the immigration rights march scheduled for May 1.

This Saturday’s May 1 immigration rights march in downtown Los Angeles could be huge. That’s the word from the labor unions and immigrants rights groups planning the weekend demonstration. They spoke with reporters at the march’s downtown L.A. starting point of Olympic and Broadway today.

If turnout for the news conference is any indication, downtown L.A. should brace itself for throngs of marchers on Saturday.

"Hundreds of organizations and unions that fight for immigration reform year after year, month after month. We will have one, single, massive immigration march on May 1," said Maria Elena Durazo of the LA. County Federation of Labor, standing with dozens of activists.

KPCC's Brian Watt talks about the May Day immigration rallies from 89.3 KPCC on Vimeo.

The march this May 1 will consolidate the several separate demonstrations that take place most years. Durazo said more than 100,000 people will march in L.A., and she says she knows exactly why.

"We need comprehensive immigration reform. We don’t need divisive laws like what was done in Arizona. "

Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) says Arizona or no Arizona, Saturday is a national deadline of sorts in the immigration debate.

"Over 70 cities will be taking to the streets, and May 1st is important this year because when we met with President Obama, we told him that we needed legislation," Salas said. "We needed a bill by April 30."

Dae Joong Yoon of the Korean Resource Center says in L.A., Saturday’s marchers will start at 10 in the morning at Olympic and Broadway and head to Los Angeles City Hall for speeches and performances.

"Children, parents with strollers and their babies, and seniors will be marching," he said. "It will be a beautiful peaceful march. I’ve been even praying to God, 'Let’s have a great weather.' I have this answer from God last night: 'It will be beautiful sunshine and a beautiful day,' Yoon explained as the crowd laughed and cheered.

To make sure it’s peaceful, Yoon said organizers are working closely with the LAPD, and hundreds of volunteers and legal observers will be on hand.

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