Activists lock themselves to buses to protest immigration policy
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) Tucson Police arrested 17 people Friday in a protest that aimed to stop deportation hearings.
Protestors used cars to stop two Border patrol buses on the westbound I-10 access road just north of 22nd Street.
Once they stopped the two buses, a dozen protestors locked their arms around the wheels. Police call the white tubes they used dragon sleeves---designed to make it very hard to cut protestors free.
While the people locked to the bus laid on the pavement other protestors wore signs and chanted their support.
The buses held about 70 people headed for speedy deportation hearings through a program called Operation Streamline. Protestors like Gabriel Schivone aimed to stop the hearings...and the program.
"It's horrible and the epitome of failed and inhumane immigration and border enforcement policy and that's why I personally and we all are here to put our bodies in the way of that."
Tucson Police diverted about 75 officers. DPS, Border Patrol, US Marshals came too. Tucson firefighters made sure the protestors stayed healthy while they laid on hot pavement, breathing fumes from the buses.
Police and DPS brought in heavy duty cutting tools for the delicate task of cutting protestors free.
The first of them were free of the bus, but under arrest about four hours after the protest began.
This is the second time this week TPD's been caught in an immigration protest. Tuesday, police used pepper spray when a crowd surrounded a Border Patrol vehicle with a suspected illegal immigrant arrested inside.
Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor says people trying to make a statement are using police.
"We are absolutely in a difficult place but we are going to continue to enforce the law and follow the rules."