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Protesters chain themselves at Santa Ana federal building to protest Arizona law

June 3, 2010 |  3:16 pm

Eight people who chained themselves together outside the federal building in Santa Ana were arrested during a noisy noontime protest Thursday.

The protesters, most of whom dispersed after police shut down Santa Ana Boulevard, had gathered to protest Arizona’s recent immigration legislation and to call on Santa Ana to declare itself a sanctuary city.

Eight of the protesters had chained themselves together with lock boxes and stood at the driveway of the federal detention center.

“We want an end to racist anti-migrant laws,” said Anna Vilchis, 22, a recent UC Berkeley graduate who lives in Santa Ana. “Undocumented people are human beings, we’re not criminals.”

Police successfully dispersed dozens of protesters who were standing in the area and at noon had given a final warning to the chained protesters to disperse before beginning arrests, said police spokesman Anthony Bertagna.

Bertagna said those arrested were taken to the city jail and will be cited and released. He said the protesters did not advise police about the protest, making it difficult for them to prepare. "This type of event drains our resources," he said.

The protesters said they were part of a loosely affiliated group calling itself “We are Arizona.”

-- Paloma Esquivel from Santa Ana

More photos>>

Photo: Santa Ana police officers take a protester into custody after firefighters removed lock boxes and chains connecting them. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times