Outrage over Arizona Immigration Law Builds, Swastika Vandalism Hits State Capitol
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Vandals smeared a swastika made of refried beans into the glass doors of Arizona's State Capitol building, police in Phoenix told local media Monday.
"While it first looked like mud on the doors, it turned out be refried beans," reported the AZFamily.com Web site, which also asserted that the vandalism was "sparked by the newly signed anti-illegal-immigration law." The site reports:
Capitol police arrived on the scene at about 6 a.m., after a swastika was found smeared on the glass doors of the House and Senate buildings. On the sidewalk, beans were used to write "AZ=Nazi," again with a swastika.
It's not clear when exactly the vandalism happened, but police believe it was some time overnight.
"That is what happens when there is so much fear and there is so much disappointment," Gustavo Ramirez, a protester from California, told AZFamily.com. "The laws that have been passed, they are Nazi laws. They are not considering humanity. They are a crime against humanity."
Meanwhile, Mexican President Felipe Calderon described Arizona's recently-passed law on immigrants as "racial discrimination."
Calderon said his government would seek to challenge the law, which allows police to question and detain anyone in the U.S. border state they believe may be an illegal entrant.
Calderon said Mexico would "use all means at its disposal" to defend its nationals against what he called a "violation of human rights" and "unacceptable racial discrimination."
He said he had instructed his foreign ministry and Mexico's consulates in the United States to work with legal experts "to defend the rights of Mexicans" in the face of the new law.
Thousands of people marched peacefully in Phoenix on Sunday to express their opposition to the controversial law.
Television images showed the protesters converging on the State Capitol, where they held a rally to denounce the legislation.
The law, signed by Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer on Friday, allows police to question and detain anyone in the southwestern border state they believe may be an illegal immigrant, even if they are not suspected of committing another crime.
It would also require anyone in the state suspected of being an illegal immigrant to show a document proving their legal status, like a "green card" permanent residency document or a passport.
Opponents of the law say that if police demand papers from someone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant, and they turn out to be a US citizen, their constitutional rights will have been infringed.
US Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez urged the demonstrators to keep up pressure on politicians, reminding them that the controversial law would not take effect for 90 days.
"In these 90 days, we will demonstrate our solidarity," he said, addressing the protesters in Spanish. "That’s why we are here."
Demonstrator Jose Acosta told CNN television he was concerned about the new law.
"What is reasonable suspicion? Are we going to get pulled over just because of a broken taillight, or because of the color of our skin?" he asked.
Civil rights leader Al Sharpton said it was people’s moral obligation to stand against this profiling in Arizona.
"Make no mistake about it. This is not a fight between minorities," he said. "This is a fight for justice and fairness for everyone."