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ImmigrationProtests 05-02

A young girl looks up at her babysitter as riot police keep people from walking onto Wilshire Boulevard during an immigration rights march and rally at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles Tuesday.

Immigrants rally across U.S.

Magda Ortiz believes a recent raid in a largely Mexican neighborhood of Chicago made people too afraid to march in an immigration rights rally, which drew far fewer protesters than turned out last year.

Ortiz, a 27-year-old legal resident from Mexico and mother of two, pushed through crowds on the city’s lakefront with a stroller bearing a sign that read: "Bush, think about the moms. Stop the raids."

But if the raids kept some people away, organizers said, they drew out others who were determined to show they wouldn’t be intimidated.

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"If they had fear, they turned that fear into courage to come out and march," said Elias Bermudez, president of the activist group Inmigrantes Sin Fronteras, or Immigrants Without Borders, at a demonstration in Phoenix. About 15,000 people marched there, some with signs reading "Stop the roundups" or "The sleeping giant woke up forever."

In Chicago, where more than 400,000 swarmed the streets last year, police put initial estimates at 150,000, by far the country’s largest turnout. In Los Angeles, where several hundred thousand turned out a year earlier, about 25,000 attended a downtown rally, said police Capt. Andrew Smith.

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