LATINO VOICES
05/02/2013 01:54 pm ET

May Day Demonstrators Demand Immigration Reform Across The United States (PHOTOS)

PHOTO GALLERIES
May Day Marches Across The U.S. And Latin America

Tens of thousands of people hit the streets in more than 100 cities across the United States on Wednesday in May Day demonstrations calling for immigration reform.

The protests have become routine annual occurrences, highlighting the degree to which Latinos have driven a resurgence of the International Workers' Day, which is not officially recognized as a holiday in the United States.

Protesters chanted "Sí, se puede!" and "Obama! Listen! We're in this struggle!" ("Obama, escucha, estamos en la lucha!") in protests in Los Angeles, marched down Broadway in New York City and danced salsa in Bozeman, Montana.

Though the U.S. government shuns May Day in favor of Labor Day in September, the holiday originated to commemorate an event in U.S. history. In 1889, the Second International designated May 1 to mark the anniversary of the Haymarket Affair, a violent clash between cops and protesting workers that occurred three years before.

But immigrants from Latin America, where most countries celebrate May Day, have reframed the holiday in recent years. A massive immigration protest and boycott in 2006 drew hundreds of thousands into the streets, according to CNN.

Congress is currently considering a bipartisan immigration proposal that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented and pour billions more dollars into border security efforts.

Latin American countries also marked the workers' holiday with marches, though often of a more contentious nature. Supporters and opponents of Venezuela's new President Nicolás Maduro held demonstrations in Caracas, confrontations between Colombian protesters and police led to 90 arrests in Bogotá, and a new class of entrepreneurs tried to make a buck off of throngs of demonstrators in Havana.

See what May Day protests looked like across the United States and in Latin America in the slideshow above.

CONVERSATIONS