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Police estimate at least 50,000 march for teachers on Arizona Capitol

(KTAR Photo)

PHOENIX — A teachers’ march on the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday drew over 50,000 participants, Phoenix Police estimated.

Teachers were joined by other educators and supporters in a walk from Chase Field at Third and Jefferson streets to the Capitol at 17th Avenue and Washington Street.

The demonstration came the first day of a statewide walkout for better pay and and more school funding.

The walkout could last for days. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News that he was sitting down with legislators all day to reach agreement on his proposal that would give teachers a 20 percent raise.

The sea of red protesters converged on downtown starting early in the morning and grew to the thousands by the time the march officially began around 11 a.m.

Wearing red T-shirts bearing slogans that supported the teachers’ Red for Ed movement, the crowd chanted and banged drums during the 2-mile walk.

It got hotter as the day wore on; temperatures were expected to reach almost 100 degrees.

Phoenix Fire Department crews treated at least five marchers for heat-related issues and another 15 for nontraumatic incidents.

City officials tweeted out street restrictions for the area hours before the walkout began.

The walkout affected hundreds of thousands of students for an unforeseen amount of time. Dozens of school districts have announced that they would close due to the lack of staffing.

Another demonstration was planned Friday at 9 a.m. This time, shuttles will take participants to the Capitol.

An earlier version of this story said the event on Friday would start at 10 a.m. Arizona Educator’s United has changed that to 9 a.m.

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