PHILADELPHIA (CBS4/AP) — One of Philadelphia’s most prominent celebrations of Latin American culture has been canceled this year amid concerns over the recent immigration crackdown by federal authorities.
This would be 10th year for El Carnaval de Puebla, where thousands gather along Washington Avenue in South Philly, dressed in bright-colored costumes and masks to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
“We are trying to show our children the tradition from our country,” said David Pina, one of the event’s organizers.
The annual parade has taken place in south Philadelphia in late April or early May for the past decade. It’s the city’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration with as many as 15,000 attendees each year.
Pina says they canceled this year’s party because they’ve gotten threats about federal agents targeting the event.
“They say, ‘we are going to call the immigration guys, so they can come over and catch more people,’” he said.
2010’s Census shows that 13 percent of Philadelphia’s population is Hispanic.
Carnaval celebrates the Battle of Puebla, in which Mexican forces defeated French invaders on May 5, 1862. About 450 carnavaleros, or marchers, take part in the festivities.
The group is set to meet in the near future to discuss how to move forward with Carnaval.
“I would understand why people are scared or worried,” said Carlos Torres, a spokesman with the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia. “But our message is that we are with them. People should try to continue to live their lives as regular as possible, but in a well-informed matter.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)