Media reports obscure May 1st numbers

At least 3 million march, millions more participate in boycott

[The] Headlines about the May 1 immigrant rights protests in virtually all the corporate media are some variant of “One Million Demonstrate.” These headlines are not only a transparent attempt to downplay the significance of the day, but they are contradicted by the very articles that follow.

Indeed, mainstream media went out of their way to downplay May 1 during the buildup the week before. Then they announce those low numbers as fact even when their own reports show the numbers were much higher. They appear to be in denial, a denial so severe it’s rendered them unable to perform simple addition.

According to widely reported official estimates, which almost always undercount the numbers, Los Angeles had two marches of 250,000 and 400,000, with more than 50,000 more participating in other LA area protests. In Chicago, the official police estimate was 400,000. That’s a total of more than 1.1 million people in just two cities, according to the government!

Yet the mainstream media meme was ‘one million marched.’

Organizers estimate that in LA more than 1 million marched on May 1, and in Chicago more than 750,000. Perhaps the most grossly underestimated march was in San Francisco, where more than 200,000 people filled the Civic Center and the entire 2-mile long march route stretching back to the Embarcadero on Market St. The SF Chronicle gave a crowd estimate of 30,000, based solely on a statement from an “unnamed city official.” At least 100,000 marched in San Jose.

The San Jose march was the biggest ever in that city, and the police estimate has been revised upwards to 125,000.

Millions more in California alone protested by staying away from work or school, or by refusing to sell or buy anything. The port of Long Beach/Los Angeles, the busiest in the country, was at least 90% shut down. In the fields, where 225,000 overwhelmingly Latino immigrant workers labor, there was the “biggest agricultural work stoppage on record in the state, according to the May 2 LA Times.

All together, at least 3 million people marched and rallied, and millions more participated in “The Day Without an Immigrant” by other means. It was truly a day of People’s Power.

That momentum and power will be continuing. There’s lots more coming. Stay tuned.

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