From Los Angeles to Chicago, Houston to Miami, a "Day Without Immigrants" Monday meant a day boycotting work and school in favor of rallies and marches that filled streets for miles.
The boycott was organized by immigrant activists angered by federal legislation that would criminalize the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants and fortify the U.S.-Mexico border. Its goal was to raise awareness about immigrants' economic power.
Two major rallies in Los Angeles attracted an estimated 400,000, according to the mayor's office. Police in Chicago estimated 400,000 people marched through the downtown business district.
Tens of thousands more marched in New York, along with up to 30,000 in Houston, 50,000 in San Jose, California, and 30,000 more across Florida. From New Mexico to Tennessee to Massachusetts, smaller rallies attracted hundreds more.
In all, police departments in more than two dozen U.S. cities contacted by The Associated Press gave crowd estimates that totaled about 1.1 million marchers.
In Los Angeles, marchers holding U.S. flags aloft sang the national anthem in English as traditional Mexican dancers wove through the crowd.
Rallies in Washington, D.C. were scattered, but the White House took note, spokesman Scott McClellan said U.S. President George W. Bush disapproved of the boycott.
In Chicago, illegal immigrants from Ireland and Poland marched alongside Hispanic as office workers on lunch breaks clapped. In Phoenix, protesters formed a human chain in front of Wal-Mart and Home Depot stores. Protesters in Tijuana, Mexico, blocked vehicle traffic heading to San Diego.
Industries that rely on immigrant workers were clearly affected, though the impact was not uniform, the AP reports.
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