Immigrant, labor, Occupy groups band together for May Day protests

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The most visible organizing effort by anti-Wall Street groups since Occupy encampments were dismantled last year were planned for May Day, a change from recent years when protests on the international workers' holiday focused on immigrant rights.

Across the world, May Day protests drew tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets from the Philippines and Pakistan to Greece and Spain. They demanded everything from wage increases to an end to cuts in education, health care and other austerity measures.

From New York to San Francisco, organizers of the various demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience said they are not too concerned about muddling the message, noting that the movements have similar goals: jobs, fair wages and equality.

"There has been a growing understanding that both movements cared for the other, and that both movements were part of the 99 percent," said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles.

Cabrera was referring to an Occupy rallying cry about 1 percent of the population controlling much of the country's wealth.

In Los Angeles, at least a half a dozen rallies were planned. In Atlanta, immigration activists plan a rally at the state Capitol, where a law targeting illegal immigration was enacted last year. Rallies were also planned in Chicago and Minneapolis.

A more labor-centric protest was going on in the San Francisco Bay Area, where service on the Golden Gate Ferry was shut down as ferry workers went on strike. They have been in contract negotiations for a year and working without a contract since July 2011 in a dispute over health care coverage, their union said.

A coalition of bridge and bus workers said they will honor the picket line of at least 50 workers outside the Larkspur ferry terminal. They were joined by several Occupy protesters.

Protesters had backed away from earlier calls to block the Golden Gate Bridge, but scores of police -- some carrying helmets and batons -- lined the span during the morning rush hour nonetheless. Some protesters with signs stood nearby, but did not disrupt traffic.

In New York City, where the first Occupy camp was set up and where large protests attracted some of the earliest attention -- and mass arrests -- to the movement, leaders planned a variety of events, including picketing, a march through Manhattan and other "creative disruptions against the corporations who rule our city."

Organizers have called for protesters to block one or more bridges or tunnels connecting Manhattan, the city's economic engine, to New Jersey and other parts of the city.

The Occupy movement began in September with a small camp in a lower Manhattan plaza that quickly grew to include hundreds of protesters using the tent city as their home base. More than 700 people were arrested Oct. 1 as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge.

The city broke the camp up in November, citing poor sanitation and other concerns, but the movement has held smaller events and protests periodically since then.