Immigrant rights marchers clog Minneapolis

Immigrant rights activists took to city streets on Saturday

Immigrant rights activists took to city streets on Saturday

The local backlash against Arizona's controversial new anti-immigrant law got loud and crowded over the weekend when about 2,000 marchers clogged downtown Minneapolis to express their outrage at the legislation.

They were part of something much larger.

Police estimate that 50,00 took to the streets in Los Angeles, 20,000 in Dallas, 8,000 in Chicago, 5,000 in Tucson and tens of thousands in other cities all around the country.

The Arizona law would require police to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of coming into the country illegally; if the suspect -- regardless of citizenship or residency status -- can't produce the right papers, they will be arrested.

The local Saturday protest, part of May Day celebrations, comes after Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak asked his department heads on Friday to cancel any official city travel to Arizona.

"In my opinion, this is a terrible law and I do not want any public dollars to be spent there," he said in an e-mail to department heads. "I feel strongly that the City of Minneapolis should not endanger the safety of our employees or spend public resources in Arizona at this time."

Earlier in the week, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced an official boycott of all city travel to Arizona.

The protest also took place after the Republican Party of Minnesota endorsed state Rep. Tom Emmer for the governor's race this fall.

Emmer, in an interview last week with Minnesota Public Radio, called Arizona's law "a wonderful first step."