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  1. #1
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    Pre Riot? Students Rally On Streets, Downtown Freeways

    Mayor Meets With Students To Discuss Immigration Bill

    POSTED: 6:30 am PST March 27, 2006
    UPDATED: 7:38 pm PST March 27, 2006

    LOS ANGELES -- More than 36,000 students from throughout Los Angeles County skipped classes and marched through streets and on various freeways Monday to protest an immigration bill being debated in Congress.

    More than 1,000 students waving Mexican, El Salvadoran, Guatemalan and American flags began gathering on the south lawn of Los Angeles City Hall just after 9 a.m., but crowds finally dispersed by 6 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Paul Vernon said.

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief William Bratton and Los Angeles Unified School District officials urged students to return to class Tuesday morning, when schools will be on lockdown.

    "Our paramount concern right now is for the safety of these students," Villaraigosa said during a late afternoon news conference. "I'm asking parents to make sure that their kids are at school tomorrow, ready to learn and ready to discuss the important issues that they were here to demonstrate about."

    Middle and high school classes throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District are scheduled tomorrow to discuss a bill introduced by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., which would crack down on employers hiring illegal workers and people smuggling illegal immigrants into the country.

    "We will have in-class teachings for students so that they can have conversations to deal with this issue in a very productive way," said Rowena Lagrosa, executive officer of educational services for the district. "We are being proactive so that those students will show up for school tomorrow."

    Letters and recorded phone messages in English and Spanish were sent to parents throughout the district, urging them to make sure their students attend classes Tuesday, Lagrosa said.

    Students participating in a mass demonstration last Friday and Monday could face discipline ranging from suspension to exclusion from certain school-sponsored functions, Lagrosa said.

    It was unclear how much money the school district lost due to decreased attendance today and Friday, she said. The district receives state funding based on average daily attendance.

    Darlene Robles, superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, said the more than 36,000 students who walked out of class Monday were from 26 school districts throughout the county.

    The LAPD was placed on citywide tactical alert as a precaution because of the protests in various parts of the city, leading to five arrests during a demonstration at Van Nuys City Hall, Vernon said. The status allows police commanders to deploy officers beyond the end of their shifts as needed.

    Four youths were arrested on suspicion of assault, while another was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct. In one instance, a student waved a large tree limb at police officers during the Van Nuys gathering, Vernon said.

    Shortly after 1 p.m., about 100 student protesters took their march onto the Harbor (110) Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. The students brought traffic to a stand-still on the northbound lanes of the freeway, then broke into two groups heading both north and south on the Hollywood (101) Freeway, according to Bratton.

    "Those who got on the freeway were very foolish," Bratton said. "Those cars are going 70 miles per hour with kids walking by. That's not a good mix. But, by and large, these were peaceful demonstrations."

    Bratton said he did not anticipate any student protests tomorrow because the weather forecast calls for rain.

    During the protest at City Hall, Alejandro Aguirre, 15, and his father Sergio said they wanted to voice their opposition to the Sensenbrenner bill.

    "Right now, the most important thing to me is this," said Alejandro, a sophomore at John Marshall High School. "If I miss class, it's not as bad as if this bill passes. I can always make up homework, but this is the most important thing affecting us right now."

    The Aguirres, who marched with about 500,000 people through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, said they believe the proposed legislation unfairly targets Latino immigrants.

    "This is a country of immigrants, and this country would not be possible without us," said the elder Aguirre, who emigrated from Mexico about 20 years ago and now works as a Los Angeles city planner. "We are the backbone, we work hard to get here and we work hard after we're here, but this bill is trying to take all that away."

    The Sensenbrenner bill, HR 4437, would require employers to verify Social Security numbers with the Department of Homeland Security, increase penalities for immigrant smuggling and stiffen penalities for undocumented immigrants who reenter the United States after having been removed.

    Under the bill, approved last December by the House of Representatives, local law enforcement agencies would be reimbursed for detaining illegal immigrants. Refugees with aggravated felony convictions would also be barred from receiving green cards.

    The U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee softened part of the immigration reform bill today by adopting an amendment by Sen Richard Durbin, D-Ill., that would protect charitable organizations and churches from criminal charges for providing aid to illegal immigrants.

    The full Senate has yet to vote on the revised legislation.

    "We may be illegal immigrants, but we are human," Metropolitan High School senior Melania Preciado said as she waved a Mexican flag. "We deserve the same rights as everyone else, not be treated like criminals."

    "We're coming from very different, rival high schools to come together and protest against this bill because it criminalizes people from other countries, who cross the border to get jobs, to contribute to the U.S. economy," said Gustavo Dominguez, a senior at Belmont High School. "We're just here to achieve a better life, that's it."

    The students outside City Hall cheered loudly when Villaraigosa came out after speaking with six students selected by protest organizers. He said their opposition to the Sensenbrenner bill was heard, but urged the students to return to class.

    "You've come today, you registered your commitment to your families, your opposition to the Sensenbrenner legislation, but it's time to go back to school," Villaraigosa said. "But in your schools, I want you to work to educate the other students about why it's so important for us right now."

    Villaraigosa made a second appearance around 4 p.m. asking students to go home, but was met with taunts and obscenities in Spanish.

    "I knew there was a possibility that the kids would react the way that they did," Villaraigosa said. "I knew that they were still very agitated, but I made it absolutely clear that even though they have a right to demonstrate, they also have a duty to return to school."

    http://www.nbc4.tv/news/8289535/detail.html
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  2. #2
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Villaraigosa made a second appearance around 4 p.m. asking students to go home, but was met with taunts and obscenities in Spanish.

    Villaraigosa knows that if he can't get those students back in class that this thing can turn into a riot and spread fast. He helped open the Genie's bottle!

    Things are probably worse than the press is conveying if our past experiences are an example.

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    What I really find incredible is that they allowed these kids into the freeways.
    Where these kids were walking in the freeway is close to, if not in, downtown L.A., and extremely busy.
    Where was the CHP?
    "We have room for but one flag, the American flag" - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Senior Member WavTek's Avatar
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    CNN had a live report from the scene. At first the "students" were behind the reporter jumping up and down and hollaring. By the time the report was over they were all over the reporter and flashing gang signs into the camera. The idiots at CNN didn't even realize what was going on. It amazes me how ignorant many of the so-called journalists are. It's no wonder many Americans are just as ignorant to the facts.
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