Protestors against new immigration laws packing downtown Fort Myers

Reporter: Annette Montgomery Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

Thousands of people are packing the streets in protest of new, strict immigration laws in Florida.

The weeklong strike across the state began Wednesday morning. Their goal is to encourage migrant farm workers, construction workers, landscapers and small business owners to stop working for a week.

“We’re going to be starting over in Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers. We’re meeting everybody there at 10 a.m.,” said Irma Bautista, who is with Voices of Florida, “and we’re going to end up at the Hispanic restaurant named El Nuevo Maguey … we’re planning on arriving around one o’clock.”

The walk will last almost two hours. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office released an advisory saying it will be assisting Fort Myers police.

Drivers can expect traffic delays and detours starting from Centennial Park eastbound on First Street, continuing onto Palm Beach Boulevard and ending near Miromar Street.

Bautista and Celeste Medina said the point of the demonstration will cause a huge backup.

“I think we can make an impact and the governors can see; the legislators can see… that Hispanic workers are important,” Bautista said.

“I hope that our voices are heard and that they take down the law,” said Medina, a 15-year-old participating in the walk. “I do hope that they hear us now, and they just change their minds, and they choose not to do what they’re doing now, for the sake of the people and families, because I know nobody wants to be separated from their family.”

The protesters will stop at Terry Park where there will be drinks and water on hand. The next break is at Maxx Foods on Palm Beach Boulevard.

From there, the walk continues to El Nuevo Mageuy where the four-mile walk ends.

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