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Bernie Sanders supporters rally in downtown Los Angeles

Bernie Sanders supporters rally in downtown Los Angeles
A group of janitors estimated by police to number 3,000 marches through downtown Los Angeles onApril 29, 2016,as they demonstrate over wages and threaten to strike. (Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

Several hundred Bernie Sanders supporters marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, culminating with a rally on the steps of City Hall.

The procession marched 10 blocks from Olympic Boulevard and Main Street, with backers of Sanders gathering on the lawn of City Hall to hear speakers and music in support of the Democratic candidate.

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The march was among a series of political rallies and labor protests to hit downtown this weekend. On Friday, thousands of unionized janitors took to the streets to demand higher wages and expanded rights.

The weekend will culminate Sunday, when thousands of people are expected downtown for May Day demonstrations that will rally for immigrant rights and improved working conditions and pay for laborers.

At City Hall, backers of the senator from Vermont listened to musicians perform a song with the chorus of "In 2016, it's Bernie or bust!" and visited booths where they could meet their delegates.

Kelly Brinn, 38, of Los Angeles, said Sanders' willingness to stand up to corporate interests and take on the big banks inspired her. His plan for free college for all resonated with her as she has about $50,000 in student debt.

The narrative pushed by the media that his plan for free college isn't possible is false, Brinn said.

"It can be paid for if our tax dollars are properly allocated," she said.

Marla Stone, a professor of European history at Occidental College, completed the march with her husband and 14-year-old daughter. She said Sanders is the first candidate to make a moral argument for economic justice and put forth a plan that could lead to a robust middle class like America once had.

"It's not a fantasy," she said. "We can do better -- we were better."

Unlike recent demonstrations in Costa Mesa and the Bay Area, in which protesters took violently to the streets and clashed with police over their opposition to Donald Trump's run for the White House, Saturday's event was peaceful, said Officer Norma Eisenman, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman.

"We'll have extra officers on hand to monitor things, as we always do, but we have no indication anything unusual is expected," she said.

Sanders did not attend the rally. He was a guest at the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner in Washington.

stephen.ceasar@latimes.com

joel.rubin@latimes.com

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