14 arrested during Denver immigration rally
DENVER – Police arrested 14 immigration reform advocates blocking a downtown Denver street Tuesday as more than 100 protesters sang “We shall not be moved.”
The eight women and six men were arrested when they refused to disperse after being ordered to do so three times by police. The advocates were kneeling on a street in front of a federal courthouse, holding a white banner that read “Immigration Reform Now” and then later a sign that said, “Stop Breaking Up Families.”
A police officer with a video camera paced around the protesters on the street. After the third warning, officers went to each protester and gave them one last chance to move. All 14 were lead away with blue plastic handcuffs, one of them yelling “Yes we can!” in Spanish as an officer took her away.
Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said those arrested would be given a ticket for blocking a roadway – a misdemeanor – and would be jailed. Jackson said it was unclear how long they would be held.
Police temporarily closed several streets as the marchers walked through downtown from the Colorado state Capitol to the federal courts seeking changes to the country’s immigration laws.
David Garner, a 74-year-old Benedictine monk from Aurora, said during the march that he planned to get arrested because it was his religious duty to support people he thinks are being unjustly treated.
“My firm belief is that injustice to one is injustice to all,” said Garner, adding that he wants the millions of people illegally in the United States to be given a path to citizenship.
Immigration reform advocates have become more vocal after Arizona passed a law requiring police to question people about their immigration status while enforcing other laws if there’s reason to suspect someone is in the country illegally.
Some of the marchers held signs calling for a boycott of Arizona.
Marchers also voiced their displeasure at Congress for not taking on an immigration bill and took aim at President Barack Obama with signs that read, “Obama Keep Your Promise.”
Marchers also chanted, “Obama, remember, we vote in November!”
Mateos Alvarez, a political organizer for the Service Employees International Union Local 105, said he was tired of seeing Congress take no action on introducing an immigration bill.
“We want immigration reform this year,” said Alvarez, who was among those arrested. “This is not to embarrass the city of Denver or Denver police; it’s to bring attention to the need of immigration reform.”
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