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Peaceful May Day marchers snarl traffic in downtown L.A.

Two sets of marchers converged on the Civic Center in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon in what police described as a peaceful and modestly sized crowd compared to previous years.

One of the groups was expected to rally with speeches and music at Olvera Street about 3:15 p.m. The other group was expected to reach 3rd Street and Broadway after 4 p.m.

No arrests were reported as of 3 p.m.

PHOTOS: May Day marchers

“It’s a very peaceful crowd. A lot of different groups have come together to both celebrate and protest. So far it’s gone very well,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

The march has caused moderate traffic problems in the downtown area since noon but the LAPD said it hoped that some of those bottlenecks would clear by the evening commute.

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The permits for both marches were granted through 7:30 p.m.

Thousands of people chanted and sang as they marched down Broadway on Wednesday afternoon. Some carried signs — “For Our Family, For Our Country, Reform” and “Stop the Deportation” — as others waved American flags. A white truck carrying a band led the way.

Los Angeles police officers lined five city blocks packed with marchers. Officers on bikes watched from side streets as the crowd moved through downtown Los Angeles.

Earlier in the day, David Huerta, who works for the local chapter of Service Employees International Union — a group of janitors, security officers and airport workers — said workers have more hope because of the recently unveiled immigration bill.

“There’s change on the horizon,” he said, smiling as he looked down at his purple shirt. It read: “With Us, America Works.”

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Twitter: @anblanx |Facebook | Google +

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com


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