1070 Protesters blocked traffic in downtown Tucson

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Protests Thursday over SB 1070, despite the fact a judge blocked the most controversial parts of the immigration bill.

Police in Phoenix made at least 32 arrests, and it was a similar scene in downtown Tucson Thursday evening.

All this as Governor Jan Brewer's lawyers appeal to try and overturn Wednesday's ruling.

July 29, a day people both for and against the controversial immigration law had circled on their calendars.

"I am here because I came to this country legally," said protester Nina Samuels.

"1070, we don't want that law to come to Arizona," said protester Mariluz Garcia.

Both had the intention of arguing their side of the debate.

For much of the day, the demonstrations in downtown Tucson were relatively peaceful.

"In all candor, we don't expect as many people out here Thursday if the ruling hadn't been issued yesterday. But we're still prepared to address any and all activities today that might occur within the city," Capt. Mike Gillooly of the Tucson Police Dept said Thursday.

Tucson police arrested one person Thursday morning for threats and intimidation to people against 1070.

Later Thursday afternoon things took a dramatic turn

Protesters against SB 1070 blocked downtown traffic, resulting in arrests for failure to disperse.

Nobody, however, resisted or was hurt in the process.

"I'm fairly proud. Because I wasn't expecting that but all of a sudden it just happened. I was like OK let's just support everybody," said Protester Edgar Toledo.

"The forefathers who started this great country took those exact same actions so gee I don't really see what's wrong with it," said Protester Diane Williams.

In the meantime, the fact remains that some provisions of SB 1070 did indeed take effect Thursday.

Among them, making it a crime to transport or harbor illegal immigrants.

John fife, the former pastor of the Southside Presbyterian church-- which has historically served as a sanctuary for refugees-- did not seem concerned, "It's largely irrelevant because local law enforcement still sets it's own priorities now about what this community's needs are in law enforcement and what we need to devote our resources to."

So even with some provisions of SB 1070 taking effect, for many, Thursday remained cause for celebration.

"It's every bit as joyous as it should be," said Fife.

Still, Governor Brewer officially appealed the judge's ruling Thursday, asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review and overturn the decision to block Arizona from enforcing the key provisions of SB 1070.

Many opposed to the law won't give up unless the law is officially overturned.

The Tucson police department was prepared and waiting for the hundreds of protesters downtown, with more than 200 officers assigned to the area.

TPD estimates put the crowd at about 300 people. In all 13 people were arrested. All have been cited for a misdemeanor and released.

"This was clearly not a violent situation. This was an act of civil disobedience on behalf of the protesters. And after discussing this most of the protesters had planned to be arrested today which is a normal cause of action for a non violent protest." said Captain Gillooly

Demonstrators blocked traffic about 45 minutes during the evening commute.