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10/12/02

Hundreds Protest At US-Mexico Port of Entry

By Paul Cicala - KOLD - Tucson

More than 300 people marched in protest Saturday, bringing the Nogales Port of Entry traffic into Mexico to a brief standstill. Demonstrators protested U.S. border policy, and other bi-national issues.

The protestors from both sides of the border were led by the local human rights organization Coalition for Derechos Humanos. Hundreds of Tucsonans made the trip to Nogales to meet up with others from Sonora, Mexico. It was a peaceful demonstration demanding justice and human rights along the border.

Swarms of protesters yelling in Spanish "We want justice," marched from Nogales, Arizona into Sonora, Mexico as U.S. Customs agents looked on.

"We're trying to unify the people on both sides of the border," Jose Matuz, Director for the Tucson-based human rights organization, Coalition for Derechos Humanos, says this is the biggest march of its kind he's seen in Nogales.

Protestors joined others on the Mexican side of the border bringing traffic coming from the U.S. to a standstill for about 15 minutes.

Demonstrators called for an end to U.S. border policy, which they believe is responsible for nearly 150 deaths along the U.S.-Mexican border this year.

Protestor Elias Bermudez says "The laws right now are not just. People shouldn't have to risk their lives entering the U.S. illegally to find a better life."

Demonstrator Irvin Ramon says, "That's the reason we come out here to march and be part of this."

Many flashed signs that said "Border Policy is killing children."

The protest included some marchers whose relatives died in the desert this year.

"You know, it hurts to lose someone," says Ramon as he begins to sob, "...and it draws back a lot of tears."

Emma Acklin, who made the trip from the University of Arizona, says, "Much of the death and violence is caused by current border policies, and there has to be another way."

Issues that demonstrators hope leaders from the U.S. and Mexico will someday solve.

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http://arizona.indymedia.org/news/2002/10/4129.php