Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon a racist?????

Immigration marchers demand apology from mayor Gordon said rally 'trampled' on rights of others

Yvonne Wingett, William Hermann and Lindsey Collom The Arizona Republic Mar. 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Organizers of last week's 20,000-member march that protested immigration legislation said Sunday that they want an apology from Mayor Phil Gordon for his remarks on the protest's execution.

In a news conference outside City Hall, Hector Yturralde, a leader of protest sponsor Unidos en Arizona, said the group also demands to meet with Gordon by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The mayor's spokesman said he had "no comment" on their requests.

Gordon expressed anger after Friday's protest. He said the city had not been notified of how many people would take part and called protesters' actions "shameful."

The march crippled businesses and traffic from McDowell to Camelback roads on 24th Street. City officials said pickup trucks, cars and motorcycles driven by the thousands of marchers filled business parking lots and locked dozens of residents in their homes until the march ended in the midafternoon.

The protest was sparked by a House bill that would include making it a felony to be in the country illegally.

Phone calls and e-mails from residents and business owners bombarded the office of Phoenix Councilman Greg Stanton, who represents part of the area. He said most of them were upset by the massive crowd and deadlocked traffic.

"There was frustration (by business owners) that there was no notice about shutting down the streets," Stanton said Sunday. "So customers couldn't get to them, and customers could not leave if they got there before the march began.

"This is not about the political message. The way this whole thing went down did not give Phoenix an opportunity to prepare."

The mayor expressed his frustration in a statement Friday, saying in part: "I am incredibly upset. You can't tell us that you're going to have 2,000 or 3,000 people march on the sidewalk and then turn 20,000 or 30,000 people loose in the streets. That's not reasonable. That's not safe. Yes, you can march, but you must also obey the law and exercise good judgment. That didn't happen, and too many businesses and residents had their rights trampled on. It's shameful."

On Friday, demonstrators marched to the office of Republican Sen. Jon Kyl to protest immigration legislation. There were similar demonstrations across the nation.

Kyl is sponsoring a bill with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would give undocumented immigrants up to five years to leave the country. Those immigrants could apply from their home country to return, either as temporary workers or for permanent residency.

Organizers of politically related events do not need permits, but the city is required to accommodate and work with organizers, officials said. However, organizers must inform officials of the expected attendance so police and other services can be coordinated.

Gordon's spokesman Scott Phelps said the mayor will ask city staff today to "put together some kind of little meetings with future organizers of future marches so the city can be better prepared for the next one that comes along."

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