< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: It's May Day, and Immigrant workers ain't happy!

Monday, May 01, 2006

It's May Day, and Immigrant workers ain't happy!

Yes, today were quite possibly the largest demonstrations the state has seen in it's history. Official estimates put the numbers of attendees at 75,000. Traffic in downtown was snarled for hours. The march was three miles long, yes, three miles of people crammed into downtown to demand their human and worker rights.

All this on a day that commemorates a labor rights campaign led by Chicago anarchists and laborers in 1886 to create the 8 hour day and 5 day week. The campaign was ultimately successful, but at the end several leaders of the movement were railroaded to death sentences after a police officer was killed at a celebratory rally for the campaign. The trials ended in the public hanging of August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer and George Engel, most of whom were immigrants themselves.

Denver schools stated absentee rates for the day as high as 75% in some schools. Meaning that the march was mostly populated by families. Whole businesses shut down, and I can imagine that many downtown executives were unable to get back to work after lunch just because of the traffic jams downtown.

Of course there was the (sometimes) thinly veiled racist anti-immigrant counter-demonstrators. In fact one counter-demonstrator's sign read "No More Wetbacks." However there were only about 50 counter-demonstrators who have no concept of natural rights. To them, rights are for Americans, not humans. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo also had his own screed on the issue.

Overall, we are at a turning point in history in terms of human and immigrant rights in this country, and Colorado in particular. We need to make sure everyone's human rights are respected, and watch out for backlashes in the form of immigration roundups in the next few months.



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