Thousands of supporters of illegal aliens gathered today in protest events in over 60 cities nationwide, but most left home a symbol that has stirred controversy with many Americans: the Mexican flag.

In what is being called a “campaign for immigrants’ dignity,” demonstrators instead are carrying the U.S. flag, a noticeable change from previous rallies in opposition to immigration-reform legislation pending in Congress.

According to Fox News, a protester at a large rally in Phoenix, Ariz., brought a Mexican flag to the event and was asked to remove it. Spanish-language radio had advised protesters not to take Mexican flags to today’s protest.

The new sensitivity comes after immigration-reform advocates yesterday burned a Mexican flag on the sidewalk in front of the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, Ariz. They carried a sign that read, “Defending American Sovereignty,” the Associated Press reported.

“Anytime they take to the streets, we’ll burn a Mexican flag,” Laine Lawless, director of the Border Guardians and organizer of Sunday’s flag burning, told AP.

Said protester Roy Warden: “We felt that when people are taking to the streets, it was an assertion of Mexican sovereignty. Today we are defending American sovereignty.”

The flag burners blame the Mexican government for the uncontrolled influx of illegal aliens into the United States from south of the border.

Police in Atlanta today estimated 40,000 protesters gathered for a march, many waving U.S. flags and signs.

Carlos Carrera, a construction worker from Mexico, held a banner that read: “We are not criminals. Give us a chance for a better life.”

“We would like them to let us work with dignity. We want to progress along with this country,” Carrera, who said he has been in the United States for 20 years, is quoted as saying.

Later this afternoon a rally in New York City is set to get under way. A large march is also scheduled to descend on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C., this afternoon.

Yesterday in Dallas, a protest rally drew between 350,000 and 500,000 people. Other rallies in 10 states drew thousands more.

As WorldNetDaily reported, one of the groups behind the protest rallies, the Mexica Movement, believe it is the “non-indigenous,” white, English-speaking U.S. citizens of European descent who have to leave what they call “our continent,” not the 12 million illegal aliens in the United States.

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