Sunday Jun 24, 201201:41 PM GMT
Thousands rally outside Arizona sheriff’s Tent City jail complex
Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:40PM
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Demonstrators gather outside a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office jail, called "Tent City", Saturday, June 23, 2012, in Phoenix.

Even before a protest against alleged civil rights violations by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office had begun Saturday night, dozens of activists had gathered with signs and loud voices.

 

Officials with the Unitarian Universalist Association organized the nighttime protest to bring attention to Senate Bill 1070 and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Tent City, which they say, violate human rights.

 

Monday is the next day the Supreme Court could issue a ruling on the controversial immigration bill signed into law two years ago by Gov. Jan Brewer.

 

About 1,000 to 4,000 activists were expected at Tent City Jail near 29th Avenue and Durango Road in Phoenix, officials said.

 

Arpaio said that no matter what the Supreme Court decides about SB 1070, he will continue the practices he has long been practicing.

 

"We've had the Rev. Al Sharpton here protesting and Linda Ronstadt. They wanted us to close Tent City, too. But that will never happen," Arpaio said. The Arizona Republic

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Arpaio is a national political fixture who built his reputation on jailing inmates in tents during Phoenixs triple-digit summer heat, dressing inmates in pink underwear, selling himself to voters as unceasingly tough on crime and pushing the bounds of how far local police can go to confront illegal immigration.

 

The U.S. Justice Department has accused the sheriffs office of racially profiling Latinos in its immigration patrols.

 

The sheriff has said the Justice Departments investigation of his immigration patrols was a politically motivated attack by the Obama administration and denied allegations of systematic discriminatory policing.

 

Organizers say conditions at "Tent City" complex are inhumane. The sheriff has said he doesn't see any problems with housing inmates in tents and often points out that some members of the U.S. military live in tents.

 

"We are with you," protesters chanted in both English and Spanish, in hopes that inmates could hear them. AP

 

KA/DB

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