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23 Arrested For Blocking Downtown San Francisco Street During Immigration Rally

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An Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Twenty-three people were arrested at a deportation and immigrant rights rally in downtown San Francisco Friday, according to police.

Fifteen men and eight women were arrested after an 11 a.m. demonstration got underway at 1 Post St. near U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices.

According to rally organizers from the San Francisco Bay Coalition for Immigration Justice, there are some 24,000 Northern California residents who face deportation.

Organizers said the rally was in preparation for a national day of action being held at dozens of locations throughout the country on Saturday.

Protesters were calling for an end to deportations and the reunion of families that have been separated through the process, according to organizers.

According to organizers, under the Obama administration there have been almost two million deportations. The rally was part of an effort to get legislators to pass immigration reform and pressure Obama to slow down the number of residents getting kicked out of the country, according to organizers.

The group was cited Friday afternoon for blocking an intersection, refusing to disperse and failing to obey a traffic officer, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The protesters were released from a police station in the Tenderloin Friday afternoon, Esparza said.

Frank Seo, 25, an undocumented immigrant from South Korea, was one of those arrested around 12:30 p.m. in front of the San Francisco Immigration Court building at 120 Montgomery St.

An organizer with San Francisco-based ASPIRE, or Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education, he said he came to the protest “willing to be arrested.”

He said he sat in the middle of the street with a banner to urge President Barack Obama to stop deportations and help reunite immigrant families.

“I wanted to show solidarity with others that are also undocumented,” he said.

Seo, who has been in the country for 10 years, said he was willing to be arrested for the act of civil disobedience to show that immigration issues affect a huge number of people and go beyond the Latino community.

“Deportation is real,” he said. “I wanted to show that deportation is happening. Families are separated by deportation.”

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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