Protesters block downtown streets during rally against Trump’s immigration policies

Several downtown Sacramento streets were filled with protesters Saturday as part of the nationwide Families Belong Together protest against the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Demonstrators were blocking roads, including I Street in front of Sacramento County jail, with hundreds of people holding signs displaying phrases like “abolish ICE” as they marched.

The protest began in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on the Capitol Mall around 10 a.m. but by about 11:30 a.m. some of the protesters had broken off from the group and walked up Seventh Street, blocking several intersections, before heading west to I Street.

About 1,000 protesters participated in the march, not including those who remained at the rally, according to an estimate by the Sacramento Police Department, whose bike unit was on scene to help assist the California Highway Patrol with the marchers.

Protesters then marched toward Third Street and Interstate 5 but were met by a presence of Sacramento police and CHP officers in an effort to prevent people from walking onto the freeway as had happened during protests of the police shooting of Stephon Clark. Around 12:30 p.m., the crowd was escorted back toward the original demonstration at Capitol Mall between Fifth and Seventh streets.

Just before 1 p.m., Capt. Norm Leong of the Sacramento Police Department tweeted that the protest had ended “with no issues.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Protest is all done with no issues</p>&mdash; Captain Norm Leong (@NormLeong) <a href="https://twitter.com/NormLeong/status/1013147288791728129?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 30, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Rachel Beasley, a longtime Sacramento resident who participated in both the rally and the march, said she was there to protest for the children who have been separated from their families.

“I think it’s awful what they are doing and I can’t stand by doing nothing,” Beasley said. “I feel powerless as it is, so being here today was important.”

Marches took place Saturday in several cities across the country, including Boston, Detroit and Dallas, as “liberal activists, parents and first-time protesters motivated by accounts of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border rallied to press President Donald Trump’s administration to reunite the families quickly,” according to The Associated Press.

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A longtime writer with a history of local professional and student reporting experience, Sacramento Bee reporter and digital specialist Daniel Wilson recently earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Sacramento State.