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World

April 10, 2017
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Thousands of people attend mega march to support immigrants in Dallas

Thousands of people attend mega march to support immigrants in Dallas

By Raja Zahid Khanzada 

DALLAS: Thousands of people attend mega march through downtown Dallas to support immigrants and for implement immigration reform.

Protesters walked across downtown from the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe to City Hall Plaza where speakers addressed people estimated at 3,200.

The event also attracted some entertainers and several predominantly Democratic local officials and state lawmakers.

Protesters brought American flags and wear red, white and blue "because this is really about America's values," said attorney Domingo Garcia, one of the event's organizers. "The 2017 Dallas Mega March is centered on themes of family, unity and empowerment. Participants are asked to carry American flags and wear red, white and blue in solidarity," organizers said.

In 2006, an immigration rally downtown drew 350,000 to 500,000 marchers, according to some estimates. That year even the organizers were stunned by how many families attended.

Dallas police, some wearing protective vests, patrolled on bike, horse and foot. Police along the route posed for photos with participants and helped children walk across the DART tracks near Griffin Street and Pacific Avenue.

Observers from the American Civil Liberties Union were on hand to watch how officers handled the protesters.

A band on stage played the "The Star-Spangled Banner," and the audience responded with chants of “U-S-A.”

Several community leaders and invited guests spoke at the Mega March, including human rights activist Martin Luther King III and Congressmen Marck Veasy, Joaquin Castro and Beto O'Rourke. ICNA president Azhar Azeez, and other.

They pleaded for unity and respect for all immigrants and called on people to vote to support their cause.

O’Rourke, who plans to run against Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, said he wants legislators to focus on helping immigrants.

Castro, a Democratic U.S. House member from San Antonio,  said his grandmother, who was born in Coahuila, Mexico, remembered seeing businesses in Texas with “No dogs or Mexicans allowed” signs.

In every generation there has been an immigrant in this country who has been disrespected, who has been challenged and tried,” Castro said. “In every generation there have been politicians who have tried to divide Americans and turned them against each other, who have tried to turn the people against immigrants. ... But in every generation there have been ... people like yourself who have stood up and have said, 'No, that’s enough, we have to treat people with respect”. 

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