Phoenix police arrest protesters at Dream Act rally

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by Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on March 20, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 21 at 12:05 PM

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PHOENIX -- About 100 people staged a protest in the middle of a busy Phoenix street on Tuesday afternoon, forcing police officers to block off traffic in both directions.

The protesters, mostly undocumented high school and college students, gathered at the intersection of 75th Avenue and Cheery Lynn Road. That is outside of Trevor Browne High School.

The protest, which started just after school ended Tuesday, started peacefully on the city sidewalk.

But after an hour, the demonstration planted in the middle of the intersection, forcing the closure of 75th Avenue in both directions.

The group, which specifically included six undocumented students, says it is in favor of the Dream Act and against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"This event is part of a larger push to make sure this man is not re-elected, if we want to defeat Sheriff Joe Arpaio then we need to come out of the shadows and fight back," said Viridiana Hernandez, 20, in a prepared release.

Officers from the Phoenix Police Department's Community Response Unit responded to the protest, some with protective helmets and pepper spray.

Police arrested six people, including a 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl. The Phoenix Police Department identified the other arrestees as Ofelia Sanchez, 18, Hugo Sanchez, 23, Daniela Cruz, 20, and Viridiana Hernandez, 20.

According to Officer James Holmes, all of them indicated that they are in the U.S. illegally, but that has not yet been verified.

Dream Activist: Undocumented Students & Resource Network

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