Immigrants rally across US

Immigrants went on strike across the US to demand reforms to help millions of illegal workers.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 14:35 IST

Hundreds of thousands of mainly Hispanic immigrants on Monday went on strike and boycotted schools and stores across the United States to demand reforms to help millions of illegal workers.

The protest, part of a mounting campaign that has seen giant rallies against plans to clampdown on illegal entrants, was intended to show the economic power of the immigrant community in the United States.

Companies that rely on low-wage Hispanic labour closed factories, while immigrant owned stores shut down and fast food restaurants cut back their operations for the "Day Without Immigrants".

More than 400,000 people marched through Chicago, hundreds of thousands were expected at three different protests in Los Angeles, and tens of thousands turned out in New York and Atlanta and other cities.

Organisers called on supporters to stay away from work, keep children out of school and boycott stores to flex their economic muscle and back the campaign for increased rights for the estimated 11.5 million undocumented workers.

But the strike call has divided the community and many immigrants said they feared for their jobs if they did stay away. President George W Bush has spoken out against the boycott.

The familiar protest slogan of "Si Se Puede" (We Can Do It) rang out across central Chicago for the city's giant rally.

First Published: May 02, 2006 05:01 IST