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May Day Demonstrators March for Minimum Wage Increase

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A May Day march and rally was held in Union Square Thursday, with participants demanding a raise in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Organizers expressed hope that Thursday's May Day rally would be the largest they've had in decades.

Demonstrators said they had three key demands. First, they wanted to see an end to deportations. They said there has been an uptick under the current administration.

Second, they demanded retroactive pay for new city contracts.

Finally, they would like to see the minimum wage in the city raised to $15 an hour. They said no group is suffering more in the city more than the working poor, and that raising the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $15 an hour is necessary to help families make ends meet.

Workers, immigrants, union members began gathering around noon.

Demonstrators marched from Union Square down Broadway, stopping at Foley Square to meet with other unions. The march concluded in Zuccotti Park.

Demonstrators stated their messages for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Mr. Mayor, the low-wage workers in the city are suffering, and they need your help. They need you to come out and to come out strong for a $15 an hour minimum wage. They need you to join this fight with us and take a vocal role," said one demonstrator.

Another demonstrator explained how low wages impact her ability to pay rent.

"I can't move out of my parents' house. I can barely help them with the rent. They're also low-wage workers, and so we're all struggling to get along. I think that this minimum wage perpetuates the cycle of poverty," she said.

"$15 an hour would, at most, get me to, allow me to get a MetroCard for the month, you know what I mean? Like, it's things like that," said a third.

Many participants said they were energized by de Blasio's campaign, especially by his commitment to fighting for equality and for the working poor. However, some demonstrators expressed worry that the mayor's vision will not be accomplished because of opposition from Albany and beyond.

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