Early estimates of 5,000 to 10,000 at today's "Day of Action for Immigration Justice" protest in downtown Indianapolis fell way short. Protestors gathered at the corner of Vermont and New Jersey in front of St. Mary's Catholic Church but the area expanded for blocks before the march down to the City-County Building even began. Demonstrators had to move westward on Vermont and spill onto Alabama Street to make room for late-arriving demonstrators. Hundreds more waited in lines forming in alleys and side streets along Vermont as the march began, stretching as far back as East Street. By my estimate, there were at least 50,000 people gathered--enough to fill the RCA Dome. According to the Star, police estimated the crowd at more than 12,000. The Star's Tania Lopez describes the scene:
Thousands of marchers carried United States flags. Some chanted “Yes, you can” in Spanish, and, “A united town will not be defeated.”Many wore white shirts, the unofficial uniform of the day. Some had T-shirts with the message, "Continuing the Dream. We're all immigrants."
Lopez notes that there were very few anti-immigrant protesters who showed up to counter-protest. Mayor Bart Peterson issued a statement supporting the march, but we suspect he and other local politicians will avoid taking center stage at the rally in front of the City-County Building.
The Star has upped his estimate of the number of protesters to more than 20,000, nearly double its earlier estimate. It compares the size of yesterday's protest to the number of union workers who showed up back in 1995 to protest a change in the state's prevailing wage law at the State House. There is absolutely no comparison between the size of the two events. I was at the State House that day and the size of that crowd looked small compared to the number of people at yesterday's protest. The aerials shots of the crowd make that abundantly clear.