May Day 2006 took on a different face across the United States. Enormous demonstrations throughout the country mobilised the immigrant communities. Its immediate cause was the controversial House of Representatives immigration Bill passed in December 2005. If it had
become law it would make illegal immigrants without proper papers "felons". Estimates of their numbers range from 10, even 12 million. Not only would they be criminalised, anyone who helped and assisted them would also be criminalised, from the Catholic Church to their families and relatives.
In an astonishing demonstration of the organising power of DJs, text messaging, the informal internet and non-English language publications, a new force was born last month when vcast demonstrations took the centre of cities like Los Angeles and Dallas, unused to pedestrians of any kind. This May Day, the organisations were better planned and more widespread - taking place in multiple cities and venues.
These photos are from the Manhattan demo. There were others in New York, the one in Queens led the local TV news. Across the country factories and distribution centres and restaurants closed for the afternoon and their workforce showed the power and necessity of the new wave of American immigrants to the economy and wellbeing of the United States.
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