A reflection on last year's May Day Immigration Rallies
It was the third annual nationwide protest on May 1, calling for changes in immigration laws and a reduction in police raids and arrests that have led to increased deportations. The turnout at rallies, in Houston, Boston, Chicago and New York, among other cities, has fallen sharply since the first year. Some marchers attribute the drop to the fear of arrests of illegal immigrants.
In the four years since they began, the annual May 1st demonstrations have declined in popularity. Some attribute this to fear of arrest, but no major news organization has reported a clear cause. However, other sources may provide the answer.
A YouTube video posted shortly after the 2007 demonstrations showed what appears to be police brutality at the protests in Los Angeles, which seems to illustrate an obvious cause for the decline in turnout. In the video, which has recieved nearly 100,000 views, police are seen shooting pellet guns into crowds of peaceful and unwarmed women and children. It's a disturbing video that is difficult to stop watching, because it seems like the type of thing that should be widely condemned and met with national outrage. However, the story is confined to a blurry video on YouTube.
The most disturbing part of the story, though, is in the comments the video has received. Though some agree with the message of the video, others make it clear that change will be a long time in the making:
"these fucking pieces of shit don't deserve anything,if you want american rights, then be american. these people are fucking ungrateful scum. for all i care the police can shoot up these people with non-leathal weapons all day and disband every demonstartion they attempt to create."
--gmfbgmfb (6 days ago)
" you want to be a part of this country quit waving another flag."
--guitarlover122 (2 weeks ago)
Though there are more positive comments than negative ones, the presence of such ignorant and intolerant comments indicates the deep-rooted problems in our country that continute to complicate the reform of immigration policy. This only means that the May 1st protests are as important as ever. Under the new administration of President Obama, perhaps this year's demonstrations will be heard by the government, and serve as a symbol of the change that still needs to come.