Arizona – Manu Chao protests Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law
On Tuesday, musician Manu Chao became the latest individual to join the four-year-long demonstration in front of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office in downtown Phoenix. Protestors have been lining up in front of Arpaio’s office since 2007 to protest Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
The move was meant to show the singer’s solidarity with local groups fighting for the civil rights of migrants and indigenous peoples. His presence and curbside tunes bolstered the protest’s numbers from the usual handful to about 60 people, according to organizers.
A statement released by the singer’s label says Chao considers the site a symbol of the widespread grassroots resistance against “racial profiling, intolerance, bigotry and the criminalization of people.”
Arpaio has become a focal point of the debate surrounding SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law. He is notorious for his unsympathetic stance on illegal immigration and his push for increased border security.
But the Maricopa County sheriff denies that he is at the center of the controversy.
“I don’t know why all these singers are coming over here to contest what I’m doing,” Arpaio told Univision News in a phone interview. “I took an oath to enforce the laws and that’s what I’m doing. If they don’t like it, change the laws.”
Chao’s protest preludes his participation in an Alto Arizona concert organized with the cooperation of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a coalition of worker’s rights advocates. Pablo Alvarado, the organization’s director, said Chao’s music is “a valuable reminder that the struggle for human dignity is not just fought for, it’s celebrated.”
The singer is performing for free in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant in Phoenix on Wednesday evening to support the community-level human rights work of Barrio Defense Committees, a non-profit organization that formed after SB 1070 passed in April 2010.
“For the past year,” Chao said, “we’ve carried the people of Arizona in our hearts as we witnessed them suffer under such ignorant laws. We’ll be proud to perform with the community to show that love can conquer hate.”
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(Source: Photo from Pheonix New Times http)