After traveling to El Salvador and Mexico during the week that began with a May Day clash between immigration rights demonstrators and the LAPD, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wisely decided on Friday to cut his sojourn short by five days and return home to deal with the fallout.


“It’s time to go back; they want me to be there,” Villaraigosa said in Mexico City. “We all know … this is a serious matter.” He was to have been in Mexico until May 9.

Televised images show a line of police in riot gear shoving mostly Latino demonstrators from the city’s MacArthur Park on Tuesday. Most of the crowd had just taken part in a day of nationwide protests to demand citizenship rights for illegal immigrants.

The police swung batons and fired rubber bullets as people fell to the ground and several journalists were caught in the fray.

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