Thousands rally on Workers’ Day against US president’s immigration policies

World Today

In the U.S., International Labor Day hasn’t traditionally been the focus for the kind of mass rallies seen around the world. But that’s changing under President Trump.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

Thousands rally on Workers' Day against US president's immigration policies

Demonstrations in the U.S. capital and major cities against Trump's immigration policies. CGTN's Roee Ruttenberg reports.

They demanded their voices be heard, and their rights be protected. But a march that annually centers on labor issues quickly morphed into an all out assault on the U.S. President, Donald Trump.

A one-day-fits-all demonstration for everyone he’s managed to upset. Organizers said that one of the things the Trump administration has successfully done is unite people against it. But they were concerned that some people, specifically those who are in the country unlawfully, might be afraid to come out.

“Many people were scared. And when we gathered at the start of the march, there were immigration officers nearby. That scared them even more. But I can be here and brought other people who can be here as well,” Ana Rondon, an immigrant’s rights activist said.

A decade ago, immigration rights marches drew more than a million people and successfully blocked an anti-immigration bill in the U.S. Congress. Protesters are hoping that marches around the country, including New York and Los Angeles, can prove equally successful.

Among the protesters are teachers from a Washington, D.C. bilingual school who cancelled their English and Spanish classes to be here. “We should spend more money on education and less money on walls and deportation,” Christie McKay, an education activist said.

On these same streets, just three months earlier, on Donald Trump’s inauguration day, a handful of protesters turned to violence. It was a scene echoed on Monday in the West Coast city of Portland, Oregon, where protesters set off fires in downtown. Police declared the demonstration a riot and revoked the May Day protesters’ permit after “anarchists threw projectiles and incendiary devices.”

But in Washington, D.C., police were prepared to make sure that doesn’t happen again. “We have non-uniformed officers on the inside, and I’ve got uniformed officers on the outside. That’s how I operate. Any unsafe behavior, you’re going to jail today. I don’t care whatever it is you’re talking about,” Daniel Carter, Washington, D.C. Police Liaison for Marches said.

Along the way, protesters handed-out stickers to spectators, many of them on-duty workers; the day’s traditional focus.

“I support them because I’m a worker in America, you know what I’m saying. I want to keep on working, and I want my children to come up and be able to work here, too,” said Michael Pie, a local city worker.

The future is on everyone’s mind. But an uncertainty and unease over what the future may look like.