Thousands expected to march in May Day processions in Los Angeles

Thousands of union members, immigrant-rights advocates and community activists are expected to march through downtown Los Angeles Wednesday in an annual May Day procession in support of worker rights and immigrant freedom.

The march traditionally draws a sea of humanity moving through streets from MacArthur Park in the Westlake area to Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. The theme of this year's procession is "LA People's Power/LA Poder del Pueblo.''

"The original May Day was an international workers' celebration more than 130 years ago,'' according to a statement from Rusty Hicks, president of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor. ``Our nation's leaders tried to use lies and fear about immigrants to pit working people against one another. They didn't divide us then. We won't let them do it now.

"This May, we march to show that we are always stronger standing together and fighting back.''

According to organizers, the march will be a statement in support of union rights, while also stressing:

-- a full and thorough count in the upcoming U.S. Census;
-- ``earning a living is a human right'';
-- ending persecution of immigrants; and
-- voting rights for all in municipal elections.

The day's festivities are expected to begin around 5 a.m. with a daybreak rally at MacArthur Park. The actual march is not expected until 3 p.m., with participants gathering at MacArthur Park beginning at 2:30 p.m.

A separate march will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Boyle Heights, beginning at Cesar Chavez Avenue and Mathews Street, ending at Mariachi Plaza, 730 Pleasant Ave. Along the way, the group will stop for a rally outside the LAPD's Hollenbeck Station to denounce police killings.

Motorists should anticipate street closures and delays in both areas throughout the afternoon.

CNS contributed to this report.