Update on 11:30 a.m. on Sunday
The following is Joseph Maturo Jr's full statement following yesterday's march. The press release is also posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.
“I am extremely proud of the manner in which both the participants and our residents came together to welcome this demonstration of our country’s most precious precepts of freedom of speech and the right of assembly. The themes of peace, unity and justice are ones that our community will continue to embrace and all our citizens certainly have a right to expect.
The March for Unity in East Haven today highlighted our commitment to continue the open dialogue we have initiated amongst all segments of our Town. We must all be willing to hold out our hands in cooperation so that we may move forward as one, unified community. By engaging one another in meaningful communication based on mutual respect, we will continue to turn today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities. As Mayor, I will continue to meet with community leaders to maintain a Town-wide dialogue focused on building sincere relationships that will help guarantee all members of our community the justice, dignity, and respect that they deserve. As I am committed to a process of rebuilding trust with all groups in our town, I will continue to work with them to restore faith in their Police Department and their Government.
Finally I would like to thank all our Police, Fire and Public Service personnel who performed their duties in an exemplary fashion and enabled our community to welcome this demonstration in a safe and peaceful manner. Let us now continue to move forward together as one community that will maintain and ensure our stated goals.
Original Story (Saturday at 4:35 p.m.)
Throngs of Latinos and their advocates took to East Haven’s Main Street in a on Saturday, as East Haven residents joined with participants from across Connecticut and out of state to demand respect for the town’s Latino inhabitants.
The march, which began at noon at the intersection of Main Street with Terrace Avenue, ended with a rally at Margaret Tucker Park.
“Si se puede (Yes, we can)!” roared the group throughout the early afternoon events.
“What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” people chanted as they marched down largely empty streets.
The day’s events were organized by the newly formed Communidad de Inmigrantes de East Haven, or the Immigrant Community of East Haven, in response to a that alleges East Haven police harassed and brutalized members of East Haven’s Latino community and then covered their actions up.
That investigation resulted in the January East Haven police officers and the . Mayor Joe Maturo, who issued a statement supporting the march, also for a remark he made about tacos.
One police officer put the number of protestors at 200. Among the elected officials present were State Rep. Juan Candelaria (D-95) and Andres Ayala, Jr. (D-128). Participants also massed from out-of-state, among them Walter Sinche, who serves as the executive director of the Ecuadorian International Alliance in Queens, N.Y.
“What we need now is respect,” Sinche said. “It’s time to work together.”
was a constant presence as the march proceeded. He termed the march’s organizers “very cooperative” as, with the East Haven police, they planned the day’s events.
Not everyone who was out on an exceedingly blustery day was aware of the days' proceedings and the very recent history behind them.
“And what is this?” said a woman seated on a park bench as the march, with its signs in both English and Spanish, rounded a bend. “So, what are they protesting?” she asked.