CHICAGO — Tens of thousands of immigrants and their supporters have planned protests in cities across the country Monday to oppose President Trump’s immigration policies.
The events on May Day will coincide with traditional demonstrations around the world by unions pushing for better rights for workers.
Representative Luis Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, will lead a May Day march for worker and immigrant rights Monday in Washington.
Organizers said the purpose of the Washington event will be to call on the Trump administration to end its policy of “mass deportation” of immigrants. A coalition of labor and immigrant rights groups has asked businesses to close in support.
Other protest are planned from New York to Phoenix.
In 2006, roughly 1 million people, including nearly half a million in Chicago alone, took to the streets to protest federal legislation that would have made living in the United States without legal permission a felony.
Crowds for May 1 demonstrations have since dwindled with advocacy groups trying other tactics. This year, organizers expect a boost as several organizations are working together to fight aggressive immigration policies pushed by Trump.
The origins of May Day go back to a turbulent and pivotal time in US labor history.
In the 1880s, unions pushing for better workplace conditions began advocating for an eight-hour workday with demonstrations and strikes nationwide.
Some of the largest crowds gathered in Chicago. In May 1886, a labor rally in the city turned deadly when a bomb was thrown and police opened retaliatory fire. Several labor activists, most of them immigrants, were convicted of conspiracy to incite violence among other charges in closely watched legal proceedings. Four were hanged.
Unions later recommended that May 1 be designated to honor the workers who were charged. Chicago commemorated the site at Haymarket Square with a sculpture.
In some countries, May Day is a public holiday. Elsewhere, it’s used to commemorate workers or protest for their rights.
Demonstrations, rallies, and riots have taken place globally from Cleveland to London.
In 1990, Soviet protesters heckled then-President Mikhail Gorbachev at a May Day parade on Red Square. In 2013, rallies in Asia protested low pay, the rising cost of living, and deplorable working conditions.
In France last year, people hurled stones and wood at Paris police, prompting them to fire tear gas.