Thousands descend on Phoenix for immigration ralliesPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX — Thousands of people from across the country came to Phoenix Saturday to express their opinion, both in support and in opposition of Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigration.
Those opposed to SB 1070 gathered Saturday morning at Steele Indian School Park to rally and march to the state Capitol.
Many of the opponents were bused-in from around the country to protest Arizona's new immigration policy. Official numbers are not available yet, but 50,000 were expected and video showed the large gathering in anticipation of the start of the march at around 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The march stretched about a half-mile long with the first groups reaching the Capitol lawn around 12:30 p.m. Traffic in the downtown area was affected during the march.
Extra officers from the Phoenix Police Department were brought in for crowd control along the 5-mile march route and at the Capitol. No major incidents were reported outside of heated arguments between protesters and some White supremacist groups at the Capitol.
Speakers addressed the crowd gathered at the Capitol. Event organizers were being cautious of the warm temperatures handing out water to the crowd. There were a few calls made to Phoenix fire for people needing assistance due to heat related illnesses,
Later in the day, more than 5,000 people rallied in Tempe for the "Stand With Arizona Buycott" to show their support for Arizona. The event, which took place at Tempe Diablo Stadium, was organized by the Texas Tea Party.
Several pro-SB1070 speakers were featured, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Sheriff's Deputy Sean Pearce, who is the son of Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, the legislative sponsor of the immigration bill.
Supporters of the immigration bill are encouraging people to continue to come to Arizona for vacations and avoid boycotting the state.