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    Hundreds of LB High School Students Leave Campuses, March Thru Large Parts of City, Converge At LB Civic Center & NLB Houghton Park Areas To Protest Congressional Proposals On Immigration Laws; LBPD Deploys Major, Visible Resources; Protests End Peacefully

    (March 27, 2006) -- Students by the hundreds left LB area High Schools this morning (March 27) and converged on LB's downtown Civic Center and NLB Houghton Park areas to protest Congressional proposals to toughen federal immigration laws.

    Rough estimates indicate that as many as 2,000 students took part, although the estimates vary widely, some pegging the number at closer to 1,000. (Photo above emailed by reader, showing the Civic Center crowd at midmorning.)

    Between 100-250 students (depending on the campus) were involved at seven LB High Schools, leaving their campuses to take part in the largely disorganized protests. LBPD says schools affected included Millikan, Wilson, Jordan, Renaissance, Cabrillo, Poly and Lakewood. In addition, students from Mayfair and Paramount high schools joined the protest activities in LB.

    "Students walked through neighborhoods and to other schools, at time gathering in numbers of more than 1,000 protesters...Traffic was significantly impacted on city streets and freeways as a result of the groups walking between locations," LBPD said in a written release.

    "LBUSD worked closely with LBPD, coordinating with them to make sure students remined safe," LBUSD spokesman Chris Eftychiou told, adding "The safest place to be is in school, and while we understand the students' need to express themselves, we don't condone their walking out of class."

    Photo credit: Bruce Tennant
    Some participants carried Mexican flags.

    A reader snapped and emailed this photo.

    It's Atlantic Ave. at Columbia Street at about 1:55 p.m.

    One group of students, mainly from Jordan, Lakewood, Millikan and Mayfair High Schools converged in the NLB Houghton Park area. Another group, comprised mainly of students from Cabrillo, Poly & Wilson High Schools gathered in LB's downtown Civic Center area.

    The protests paralleled student actions in L.A, following a weekend demonstration by adults and families that drew roughly 500,000 people to L.A.'s Civic Center. In the wake of the L.A. demonstration, and others in various cities over the past few days, on Capitol Hill the Senate Judiciary Committee met today and passed an immigration reform bill that doesn't include the harsh criminal penalties opposed by demonstrators...and does provide a "guest worker" program supported by President George W. Bush. Reuters: Immigration bill advances as protests spread

    LBPD deployed sizable resources to deal with what amounted to a developing, fluid situation...with groups of students in motion in two separate parts of the city.

    "In addition to the regularly scheduled patrol deployment, the Police Department activated the SWAT team, deployed Detectives into the field, and called in over eighty off-duty Police Officers," LBPD said.

    Photo credit: Bruce Tennant

    Roughly 400 police officers were were utilized citywide to respond to the event, LBPD indicates. [This was a truly major, visible deployment; LB has only roughly 950 total budgeted sworn officers...with fewer actually available for citywide duty.]

    City Hall activated its Emergency Operations Center and reps from various city departments, the LB Unified School District and CHP "worked under a unified command to coordinate resources and ensure the safety of the students and the community," LBPD says, adding "Police and school officials will continue to work together in the coming days to ensure that the appropriate staffing and resources are available to address any additional incidents that may occur in relation to the pending [federal] legislation. School district officials have indicated that they will provide additional School Safety personnel at each high school tomorrow."

    The protest activities ended at about 5:00 p.m. as protesters exited the city. With the visible LBPD presence, the student actions remained peaceful and there were no injuries or property damage reported.

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