Oct 11, 2013 8:50 PM by Erika Flores

A mass protest stops buses carrying immigrant detainees

TUCSON - A mass protest caused a mess downtown Friday. There were two demonstrations with the same purpose. One was at the federal courthouse where protesters chained themselves to the gate. The other was at the I-10 near Congress on the frontage road where protesters blocked buses.

Both groups were protesting "Operation Streamline."

More than 100 protesters said this was the only way to call attention to what they call an inhumane program that destroys families.

Protesters were lying down and locked to the wheels of buses trying to keep detainees from going to the federal courthouse for Operation Streamline.

"We're using our bodies as a human shield in order to end streamline," said Angie Loreto.

"We're here to stop it at least for today and to bring attention to it," said Michelle Raygada.

They are protesting the program that gives people caught crossing the border illegally prison sentences and deports them rather than allowing them to return home voluntarily if they do not have a criminal record or a high number of prior illegal entries.

They don't really know what's happening. They are shackled and chained the entire time. This is inhumane," said Raygada.

Protesters also chained themselves to a fence at the federal courthouse building.

The demonstrations cancelled Operation Streamline Friday keeping around 70 prisoners from seeing a judge.

"Stopping a transport vehicle of prisoners is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do. You really don't know who's going to be on that bus. Like I said, there were at least 8 felons on that bus," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.

Although almost two dozen protesters were arrested for hindering prosecution and failing to obey orders, they still saw it as a victory.

A US Marshals spokesman tells News 4 Tucson, the demonstrators didn't do the detainees any favors. He said the detainees now have to stay in jail and wait until Tuesday to see a judge.


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