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Red for Ed expects tens of thousands of protesters for Thursday rally

Arizona teachers and education advocates march in front of the Arizona Capitol highlighting low teacher pay and school funding Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Red for Ed organizers have made plans for a major rally that is expected draw tens of thousands of protesters to the Arizona Capitol on Thursday, when teachers will begin their statewide walkout to demand higher wages and increased funding for education.

Red for Ed, the movement started by Arizona Educators United, said protesters should meet at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix at 10 a.m. for a march to the Capitol that will begin at 11 a.m.

Protesters were asked to park at Chase Field or arrive there via light rail, bus or ride-sharing services because there will be no parking at the Capitol.

Shuttle buses will run between the ballpark and the Capitol for those who don’t want or are unable to march.

Organizers reminded protesters to prepare for the heat, with temperatures forecast in the upper 90s. They said to bring water, umbrellas, hats, cash for food trucks and homemade signs bearing creative, positive, student-centered messages.

Capt. Rob McDade with the Phoenix Fire Department also encouraged protesters to eat a well-balanced meal and drink plenty of water beforehand.

“The moment you feel yourself getting tired or you feel like you’re dehydrated, you may already be too far gone,” he said.

“Be safe and be sure you are ready for a day out in the sun if you have not done it in a while.”

Another rally has tentatively been planned for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the Capitol, again with shuttle buses running from Chase Field.

Many districts around the state have announced school closures in anticipation of the work stoppage.

After weeks of demonstrations, teachers voted last week to move ahead with the first statewide strike in Arizona history.

Gov. Doug Ducey offered a proposal for a 20 percent pay raise by 2020, but teachers questioned the sustainability of his plan. They also were unhappy Ducey’s plan didn’t include better wages for school support staff or meet other demands.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report. 

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