MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Police arrested 13 protesters in Alabama’s capital Tuesday as they demonstrated against the state’s strict new law clamping down on illegal immigrants.
About 100 people, most of them Hispanic and college-aged, chanted slogans as they marched in light rain around the state Capitol and to the adjacent Statehouse where the legislature works.
Some sat down on Union Street between the Statehouse and the Capitol when police approached and warned them in English and Spanish that they would be arrested if they didn’t move.
None did and police arrested 11 protesters, tying their hand with yellow straps and loading them into a city bus. It was unclear what charges the protesters would face.
Federal courts have blocked parts of the Republican-backed law from taking effect, but both supporters and critics still call it the nation’s toughest state law against illegal immigration. The Obama administration opposes the law, which is calls an overreach by the state.
After walking all the way around the Capitol one time, about 20 protesters entered the Statehouse and went up to the seventh-floor office of state Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, a key proponent of the law.
Once downstairs, two of the demonstrators — college students from Los Angeles and Philadelphia — linked arms and sat down on the floor of the main lobby, vowing not to leave until Beason responded to their concerns. They were later arrested.
Beason was not there and the group left a letter outlining its complaints about the law and asking state legislators to tone down their rhetoric over the law.
The senator’s staff later told the protesters that their letter had been delivered to Beason’s administrative assistant but he would not address the group because he is out of town.