While May Day rallies have traditionally been calls for attention to workers' rights, this year the day is expected to be marked by many demonstrations nationwide focusing on immigrants' rights and resistance to Trump administration policies overall. On May 1, also called International Workers' Day, a coalition of nearly 40 advocacy groups are organizing rallies and protests around the country, and here in the Bay protests are expected in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza, on Market Street, outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in SF, at Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, on the UC Berkeley campus, on Mandela Parkway in Emeryville, and in Fruitvale Plaza in Oakland.
As the Chronicle reports, a rally is set to happen Monday morning in Justin Herman Plaza that will be followed by a noon march to Civic Center, and Mayor Ed Lee is expected to participate. Lee gave a statement to the paper saying, "We cannot have our residents living in the shadows, fearful to go to work, enroll their children in schools or seek medical assistance. Despite the misguided rhetoric coming from Washington, D.C., we will continue to lead the way and fight for our immigrant communities."
Marking a Day Without Immigrants, Adriano Paganini's Back of the House restaurant group is shuttering all of its 20 Bay Area restaurants on Monday that includes Beretta, Belga, Flores, Delarosa (both locations), El Techo, Lolinda, Starbelly, The Bird, Uno Dos Tacos, and all 10 locations of Super Duper. Paganini, himself an immigrant who moved to the Bay Area from Italy over 20 years ago, says in a statement, "The subject of immigration remains very personal to me, and It hits close to home for many of us. I feel very proud to be an immigrant who has successfully built a business that provides jobs for many people and places to eat for our neighbors."
NBC Bay Area reports that a focus of the San Francisco demonstration will be the education of immigrant children. Lita Blanc from the United Educators of San Francisco tells the station, "Public money is going to private schools and, of course, an increase in charters, that runs counter to public education being a cornerstone of democracy."
In recent years, May Day has been an occasion for anarchic protest events, particularly in Oakland where in 2015 nighttime rioting left many businesses vandalized in the city's downtown and on Auto Row.
No event appears to be scheduled in downtown Oakland, like the general strike that happened on May Day in 2012, however it remains possible that similar chaos could erupt given the tradition of the last several years.