Seattle immigration protesters promise another one soon

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News and KING5.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on May 20, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Updated Thursday, May 20 at 6:29 PM

SEATTLE – More than 100 demonstrators demanding that that Pres. Obama pass immigration reform blocked off Seattle streets as well as people inside an office building. And they say they're prepared to do it again, soon.

The group started the day outside the Federal Building, but surprised some by moving into a building that houses an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency office and court.

The group, including Seattle City Councilman Larry Gossett and El Centro de la Raza Executive Director Estela Ortega, locked arms during the noon hour and blocked the elevators. When some people tried to get through the human blockade, they were pushed away.

After that, the crowd moved back out to the street, where they sat in a circle at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Madison Street. Gossett was one of them and said he was willing to be arrested for the cause.

"I'm willing to take the risk because of the importance of the issue," said Gossett

The crowd chanted "Obama, you promised; you've got to keep your promise!" and carried signs that say "Immigration Reform Now" and "America Show Your Morals."

"We want Obama to live up to the promise that he made to the Latino community that he would address immigration reform in 2010," said Ortega.

The group was joined by religious leaders. Pastor Josefina Beecher said she often sees the pain of immigrant families.

"I'm a pastor in Mount Vernon and I deal everyday with kids who come home and their parents have been taken away," said Beecher.

By about 1:30 p.m., the crowd dispersed. There were no arrests.

The rally included a coalition of groups organized by the OneAmerica organization. Group leaders say they will conduct another demonstration in a couple of weeks. They say it will have an element of surprise and will be an escalation of what happened Thursday.

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