By Jonathan Allen and Peter Szekely
| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Labor unions and immigrant advocacy groups launched May Day rallies in cities across the United States on Monday, with the largest demonstrations expected late in the day as organizers target the immigration policies of President Donald Trump.Activists said they were trying to make the demonstrations the largest immigrant protests since Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.Early in the day, 500 protesters marched through midtown Manhattan and rallied in front of offices of Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Twelve were arrested, according to a spokesman for Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy group that claims 20,000 members. The two banks were targeted because of their dealings with private corrections companies that built or run some immigrant detention centers, according to Jose Lopez, Make the Road New York's co-director of organizing.
"The messaging for today was to stop to financing immigrant detention facilities," said Lopez. "This is going to be the first of many attacks against these corporations who, until they stop working with this administration, will continue to be on our target list." May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, has typically been a quieter affair in the United States than in Europe, where it is a public holiday in many countries.
New York City's biggest rally was planned for the early evening, when organizers expected thousands to gather in downtown Manhattan's Foley Square for musical performances and speeches by union leaders and immigrants living in the country illegally.In Los Angeles, organizers expected tens of thousands of people to converge on MacArthur Park during the morning before marching downtown to a rally in front of City Hall.
Precautions were in place in Seattle, where officials were on the lookout for incendiary devices and gun-carrying protesters after a January shooting outside a political event and an incident during May Day 2016 when a protester threw an unlit Molotov cocktail at police.Some Trump supporters said they would also turn out on May Day. Activist Joey Gibson said he and other conservatives will travel to Seattle to defend against what he described as communist and anti-fascist groups who have in the past faced off with police in the evening, after the conclusion of the usually peaceful daytime marches. (Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Peter Szekely in New York; Additional reporting by Tom James in Seattle; Editing by Mary Milliken and Jonathan Oatis)
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Updated Date: May 01, 2017 22:17 PM