Nine arrested at anti-SB1070 protest

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PHOENIX -- At least nine people were arrested during an anti-SB1070 protest that blocked Central Avenue and shut down traffic and Light Rail service for a time during the Tuesday evening rush hour.

The group marched to chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, SB 1070 has got to go," on the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the law.

Close to 300 demonstrators participated in the march which began in downtown Phoenix and stretched to outside of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement building on Central Avenue near McDowell Road.

"It's not about the Arizona law and its arguments only today, there are other cases still pending," said Daniel Galindo, a volunteer with the American Civil Liberties Union who came from California to participate in the march. "Even if [1070] becomes a court precedent, it doesn't mean the law can't be repealed by the state."

Once the group got outside of the I.C.E. building they moved from the sidewalks into the street, causing a shut down on the northbound side of Central Avenue. The Light Rail was also forced to stop.

About two dozen Phoenix police officers in tactical gear lined the street to keep the crowd under control.

A group of demonstrators sat down in the middle of the street and after about 30 minutes, police began making arrests.

When all was said and done, nien people were in custody.

The arrestees have been identified as Jessica Davenport, 20; Michael Mize, 29; Bobby Castaneda, 35; Jovana Renteria, 32; Amy McMullen, 52; Danielle Nieto, 31; Steven Hernandez, 32; Sandra Solis-Castro, 34; and Tony Verdugo, 32.

Some who were inconvenienced by the shut-down in traffic said they did not think the march was the right way for demonstrators to gain sympathy for their cause.

"It's slowing down the Light Rail, it's slowing down other transportation," said Lee Rassas, who was biking through the area when police shut down a stretch of Central Avenue. "It doesn't seem like a great way to have a productive voice."

Daniel Garcia, the president of a local organization that supports the Dream Act, disagreed.

"It's a way to send a message, so if we have to block the traffic for an hour, so be it , we're fighting for a cause, to do the right thing," he said.

No one was injured and traffic reopened shortly after 6:30 p.m.

More protests were expected Thursday.