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Eight Arrested During Immigration Rally in Downtown Santa Barbara

Police say the protesters refused orders to clear the intersection at State and Anapamu streets

Eight people were arrested during an immigration rally Thursday afternoon in downtown Santa Barbara.

The protesters were arrested after refusing an order to disperse from the intersection at State and Anapamu streets, blocking traffic in all directions, according to Santa Barbara police Lt. Paul McCaffrey. He said organizers told police that the group wanted to be arrested.

They were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly.

The Associated Press reported that those arrested were UCSB students and one professor.

McCaffrey said in a news release that 150 to 200 protesters gathered in the area about noon, and that the group’s organizers said their intention was to hold a peaceful gathering. After rallying on the sidewalk, the group moved into the intersection.

About 1:20 p.m., officers told the organizers that they needed to clear the streets. All but the eight who were arrested voluntary returned to the sidewalks, McCaffrey said.

The rally’s participants called for Santa Barbara to boycott Arizona contracts because of that state’s new immigration law — Senate Bill 1070 — which enables police to ask about residency status if, during any lawful contact, there’s a suspicion the person is an illegal immigrant, and makes it a violation of state law to be in the country illegally.

Several California cities — including Los Angeles, Oakland and West Hollywood — have declared various degrees of boycotts of Arizona business, including official travel to the state, to protest the recently enacted law, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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