Thousands of workers, immigrant-rights activists and other protesters will take part in May Day marches and rallies today in support of causes ranging from better-paying jobs to immigration reform, triggering street closures in downtown Los Angeles.
Rallies are planned throughout the day at various locations, including one at Los Angeles International Airport in connection with a one-day strike by janitors and other workers at the facility, but downtown will be the main rallying point for protests by such groups as Occupy L.A., the Youth Justice Coalition and Rise Up L.A.
Occupy L.A. planned a ``May 1 Four Winds/General Strike'' event involving four ``caravans'' converging on downtown L.A. The South Wind caravan will start at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, the West Wind at Wilshire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, the North Wind at Panorama High School in the San Fernando Valley, and the East Wind at Cesar Chavez and Atlantic Avenue in Monterey Park.
Before they get to downtown L.A., the North Wind demonstrators planned to march to the Van Nuys Civil Center. They urged Panorama High School students to join them, but there were no takers, KNX-1070 reported.
The South Wind caravan will be joined by a "feeder march" organized by Rise Up L.A. to protest the ``Prison Industrial Complex" and commemorate "the beginning of the L.A Rebellion." It will start at Florence and Normandie, the flashpoint of the riots that devastated the city 20 years ago this week.
Around noon, protesters will gather at 41st Street and Central Avenue, then head to Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard before staging a 2:30 p.m. rally at Sixth and Main streets. A larger rally is planned at 7 p.m. at Pershing Square.
Supporters of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles will take part in a May Day march for jobs, education and "peace in the world," with participants gathering at Olympic and Broadway at 1 p.m. and marching an hour later north on Broadway. A rally is planned for 3:30 p.m. at Broadway and First Street.
"We look forward to join students, unions, workers, families, people of faith, civil rights advocates, elected officials, business people and other
allies to honor and celebrate the contributions of every worker in America," said CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas.
Unionized service workers at Los Angeles International Airport are planning a one-day strike beginning at 3 a.m. They will start a march at noon from the Tom Bradley International Terminal, then along the north side of the terminal area and eventually to Century Boulevard and Avion Street.
Many of the same workers staged a protest at the airport in March against what they called safety shortcuts being taken by airline contractors working at the airport. Today's job action will occur amid heightened security resulting from the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Airport police officials have said they were working with the labor unions to ensure today's protests do not disrupt passenger traffic. Police,
however, advised passengers, visitors and airport employees that traffic congestion and delays are possible during the rally.
Airport police said travelers should give themselves an extra 45 minutes to account for possible delays.
Motorists heading to LAX on westbound Century Boulevard will be diverted north on Airport Boulevard, then west on 96th Street to north Vicksburg Street and into the terminal area.
Commuters in the downtown area, also could find themselves dealing with traffic disruptions. According to the city's Emergency Management Department, the following streets are expected to be closed during the marches:
-- Broadway between 11th and Temple streets;
-- Olympic Boulevar