"Hardly any of the owner-operators were at the container terminals of either port," said Bob Curry, president of California Cartage, one of the largest trucking lines in the harbor. "We are all concerned. Everyone loses money in something like this."
Curry said it might take up to a week to clear the cargo stalled by the immigration boycott.
Though there was no way to immediately assess the larger effects of the protests, they did appear to mark a newfound sense of confidence on the part of illegal immigrants, who until recently have generally been reluctant to participate in civic debate.
"For many years, these undocumented immigrants, as well as individuals who sympathize with the plight of this community, have been very quiet and passive," said Harry Pachon, president of USC's Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a think tank that studies Latino issues. That is changing, he said. "When you have 100,000 people out in the street, that gives reality to potential political power."
Pachon said the fact that so many immigrants are willing to skip work and let their voices be heard shows that they are no longer afraid. "There is also safety in numbers," he added.
Monday's protests resembled the March 25 demonstration in many ways, but seemed more energetic and boisterous. "Today we feel victorious," Alejandra Arcasi, a 40-year-old naturalized citizen from Peru, said as she marched toward City Hall. "But there is still a lot more to do."
Marching up Broadway, demonstrators chanted in front of open businesses, demanding -- in some cases successfully -- that they close.
Apparently taking stock of complaints about the number of Mexican flags in previous demonstrations, organizers made sure that the vast majority of marchers Monday carried American flags. However, many still carried Mexican flags, sometimes alongside -- or above -- the Stars and Stripes.
Just as in March, most were wearing white shirts and many brought their entire families. Despite the economic boycott, vendors were plentiful, selling water, noisemakers, hot dogs, flags and sodas. A red blimp flew above the crowd, covered in U.S. flags.
The first march began at Olympic Boulevard and made its way up Broadway to 1st Street, ending at City Hall. There, a series of speeches were book-ended by a loud recording of Neil Diamond's "America:" \o7Everywhere around the world / They're coming to America. / Every time that flag's unfurled / They're coming to America."
\f7"These people out here want to be a part of the American dream," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said of the protests. "I support them."
Although several public figures, including Villaraigosa and Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, urged students to stay in school, the crowd included many schoolchildren.
"We want to show the government that a day without a Mexican makes a difference, that Mexicans help America, that they give them money," said Melissa Covarrubias, 15, who called in sick to El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera.
The Los Angeles Unified School District reported 71,942 absences in grades 6 through 12 on Monday, or about 27% of the total enrollment in those grades. By contrast, the absentee rate was 10% on the same day last year.
Among the protesters at City Hall was restaurant worker Chris Zamora, 23, who could hardly contain his delight at the spectacle surrounding him.
Unfurling a banner that read "Legalize, Don't Criminalize," he said: "In my studies, I learned that there were demonstrations like this in Los Angeles during the Vietnam War. So it gives me chills to be a part of it. Thirty years from now, I'll look back and say, 'I was there.' "
Zamora's mother, Lillia, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1997 and later become a citizen, added: "It's not right that people should be dying as they cross the border," she said, "simply to find a job and support their families."
Juan Pino, 44, watched the march from his post as a security guard at the Anjac Fashion Buildings on Broadway. Pino said his boss told him he would be fired if he didn't show up.
"It's bad," Pino, who waved an American flag as marchers passed by. "They should have let us participate."
Also in the crowd, but on the other side of the political spectrum, were three friends from West Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
The women said they struggle to get housing, employment and healthcare, competing against what they see as an unfair crush of illegal workers.
"I can't afford glasses and healthcare," said Linda Carrillo, 50, a home health aide for AIDS patients. "Our neighbors, who are illegal immigrants, have cellphones and drive SUVs."
Carrillo is married to a Mexican American and speaks fluent Spanish. She said she loves the Latino culture, but bristles at the belief by some that they are entitled to live here illegally. On her sign was an American flag and a single word: "Adios."