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Activists to protest Arizona boycott outside L.A. City Hall

May 25, 2010 |  8:36 am

"Tea party" activists were planning to stage a small rally Tuesday morning outside Los Angeles City Hall to protest the city's boycott of Arizona businesses because of the state's crackdown on illegal immigration.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 earlier this month to ban most city travel to Arizona as well as future contracts with companies in that state. Council members argued that the Arizona law, which requires police to check the immigration status of those they stop and suspect to be in the country illegally, would lead to racial profiling and discrimination.

Boycott opponents said the protest is meant to send a message that many Angelenos agree with Arizona's tough stand on illegal immigration and view their city's official response as politically calculated.

"This is really about the City Council making a statement to curry favor with Latino voters in Los Angeles," said Gary Aminoff, a vice chairman of the California Republican Party and one of the organizers of the protest. "The City Council should consider the views of its constituents before making decisions."

The hourlong rally on the south lawn of City Hall was scheduled to start at 8:45 a.m. and is expected to include half a dozen speakers, mostly from Republican and tea party groups. Aminoff said he expected between 100 and 500 demonstrators.

Cities across the country -- from Seattle to Boston -- have passed similar boycotts in recent weeks. Los Angeles' could have the biggest economic impact because it is the largest city to pass such a measure.

Other communities, however, have voiced support for the immigration crackdown.

Legislators in Tennessee passed a measure Monday praising the Arizona law, and last week the Costa Mesa City Council passed a resolution declaring itself a "rule of law" city when it comes to the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Public opinion remains divided, however; a national poll taken earlier this month found that 55% of respondents approved of the Arizona law.

-- Tony Barboza

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