March against sheriff led by rock singer Zack De la RochaPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX - Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of downtown Phoenix on Sunday carrying signs and bullhorns.
It is the next wave of protests against ever-controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Critics of the sheriff are calling on the federal government asking for an investigation into the sheriff's actions and got the support of one of rock's biggest names.
Known for his politically charged music, the lead singer of Rage Against the Machine, Zack de la Rocha, put down his microphone and picked up a bullhorn.
De la Rocha told the crowd, referring to Arpaio, "He re-opens the wounds from which we all still suffer by invoking the painful memories of the era of slavery and segregation."
The renowned musician's speech was the final stop on a march that covered more than four miles of downtown Phoenix. The thousands of activists first gathered at Steele Indian School Park. From there the chanting crowd made its way to Arpaio's office.
It was there at the Wells Fargo building where the demonstrators came face to face with a Sheriff Joe rally. The heated debate that took place at that intersection will continue until, protesters say, action is taken.
They want former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who is now head of Homeland Security, to put an end to the 287g agreement, which allows local law enforcement to arrest people suspected of being in the country illegally.
Their numbers were not as large but the sheriff also had supporters of his own out on Sunday. Armed with signs and American flags the citizens rallied downtown to show their support for the sheriff and his approach to immigration.
One supporter told 3TV, "We're here to show support for Sheriff Joe and for the 287g which gives law enforcement, local law enforcement, the right to act as ICE officers."
The group is asking Napolitano to increase the number of 287g agreements throughout the country.