Protesters flocked to six Arizona border checkpoints Wednesday as demonstrators complained that the Border Patrol has turned their towns into militarized zones.
The Los Angeles Times reports that protesters briefly stopped traffic in an attempt to shut down the Arivaca checkpoint. However, agents were able to corral the group.
“It seems like a war zone all the time,” Patty Miller told the newspaper. Miller has lived in the area for more than 30 years.
Independent border town community groups took up their concerns in the other checkpoints, the Los Angeles Times reported. Bisbee residents voiced concerns that the border fence affected the environment, while Native American tribes said the Border Patrol was intruding on tribal land. Tucson protesters reportedly focused their demonstrations on the shooting death of a 16-year-old Mexican boy by a Border Patrol agent in October 2012.
Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr. said the protests were the result of a misunderstanding of the agency’s role in maintaining the safety in the area.
“We stop everything here: drugs, smuggling,” Padilla told the Los Angeles Times.
Protesters claim they feel threatened at the check point and have to “hide their fear” when dealing with the agents.