PHOENIX - Nine people have been arrested after a protest march stopped in front of a federal immigration building in Phoenix.
About 500 demonstrators marched in the downtown area Wednesday afternoon against Arizona's controversial immigration law known as SB 1070 .
The group asked for an end to state and federal policies they say erode civil liberties, legalize racial profiling, and enable local law enforcement to use immigration policy to enforce their prejudice.
“We do not stand for discrimination in this country,” said Abdi Solteni, a member of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“SB 1070 writes discrimination into our laws and it's puts police against communities,” he added.
Solteni was with a group of people who were on a bus tour called “Estamos Unidos” or “We Are United.”
The group will travel to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, states that have similar anti-illegal immigration laws in effect.
Air15 video showed over 100 protesters marching along the streets of Phoenix with signs and banners to support their movement.
They marched in front of the Phoenix Police Department, the Federal Courthouse, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 4th Avenue Jail and then ended their march at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Central Avenue, north of McDowell Road.
Just before 6 p.m. a group of protesters moved into the street, placing a large sign down on the pavement.
Police in riot gear formed a line alongside the protesters who were blocking Central Avenue next to the Valley Metro light rail line.
At around 6:20 p.m. police began making arrests and protesters appeared to be going along peacefully while others repeated chants.
Soon after, the remaining protesters backed up onto the sidewalk with officers wearing riot gear.
“People are not illegal,” said Susan Frederick-Gray, a minister with the Phoenix Unitarian Universalist Church.
Her group took part in the march.
“Laws that separate parents from their families…hard working parents from their children that’s what should be illegal,” she said. “SB 1070 and laws like it, they criminalize people who just want to provide for their families.”
Earlier Wednesday, members of the Tea Party from throughout the state gathered in front of the State Capitol to express their support of SB 1070.
“I would hope the federal government enforces the law as written and not pick and choose which laws they want to enforce and which laws they don’t like,” said Mike Keating, a retired U.S. Navy sailor, who was at the earlier rally.
“They are not securing our border. They are not paying attention and they’re not stopping what is coming across,” said State Senator Sylvia Allen, a republican who represents Fifth District.
“It’s an absolute shame that the federal government will not respond to our state and really do what is needed,” she added.
She and other state lawmakers were there to show their support.
Authorities said the five females and four males were arrested for blocking Central Avenue during rush hour and refusing to move onto the sidewalk.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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