- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Hundreds of thousands of people banged drums, waved U.S. flags and marched in a protest yesterday urging federal lawmakers to pass immigration reform that would legalize an estimated 11 million undocumented workers. The demonstrations developed a day before what has been billed as a National Day of Action — an orchestrated network of nationwide protests against major immigration reform.

Shouting “Si, se puede” — Spanish for “Yes, we can” — the marchers crammed into downtown Dallas streets. They included families pushing strollers with their children and ice-cream vendors who placed U.S. flags on their carts. Many wore white clothing to symbolize peace.

Police estimated the crowd at 350,000 to 500,000. There were no reports of violence.

It was among several demonstrations that drew thousands in New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Utah, Oregon and California.

“If we don’t protest, they’ll never hear us,” said Oscar Cruz, 23, a construction worker who marched among the estimated 50,000 in San Diego. Mr. Cruz, who came illegally to the U.S. in 2003, said he had feared a crackdown but felt emboldened by the large marches across the country in recent weeks.

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