- The Washington Times - Monday, April 10, 2006

Online exclusive: updated 3:02 p.m.

From Atlanta to Los Angeles to the District — and in hundreds of cities in between — protesters poured into American streets today to urge lawmakers to create a path for citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States.

In the District, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was set to give the opening prayer at a rally expected to draw 200,000 on the Mall this afternoon at 4:30.

Immigrant rights groups CASA of Maryland and Mexicanos Sin Fronteras say they are sending 75 buses to the rally, including five from Montgomery County schools, two from Baltimore and two from Prince George’s County. Many protestors are urged to carry American flags and wear white shirts to symbolize peace. Magdalena Balderas, a student at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, said at least 200 spring breakers from her school are expected to attend.

Religious groups across the country have been supporting and coordinating the protests in recent weeks, along with dozens of unions, schools and civil rights organizations.

Crews spent much of the morning setting up a stage, portable toilets, trash cans and a tent in preparation for the protesters.

“Its all about changing the world,” said Neycy Kain, 30, an artist from West Virginia who drove to the District from Pocahontas County, West Virginia, with her friend Shio Sanders, 21. They said they have attended at least 15 similar rallies in the last two years.

U.S. Park Police Commander Dwight Pettiford said he did not expect any problems from the crowd and asid police will have a visible presence during the protest.

Tourists along the Mall said they planned to leave before the protests start.

“We were planning to be out of here anyway,” Jim Morran, 47, of Philadelphia, visiting the District with his family.

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