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Arpaio closing jails ahead of immigration protests

A defiant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, pounds his fist on the podium as he answers questions regarding the Department of Justice announcing a federal civil lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio and his department, during a news conference Thursday, May 10, 2012, in Phoenix. According to the Department of Justice, after months of negotiations failed to yield an agreement to settle allegations that the sheriff's department racially profiled Latinos in his trademark immigration patrols, the lawsuit was filed.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is shutting down county jails in anticipation of protests against Arizona’s immigration law.

The Arizona Republic reports the sheriff’s office plans to close all six of its jails Saturday because of a large protest planned in the evening.

Officials say they expect between 1,000 and 4,000 demonstrators outside a Phoenix complex of canvas jail tents, known as “Tent City.”

Family and friends will not be permitted to visit inmates during the closure.

Groups who plan to hold vigil outside Tent City include Puente Arizona and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

A spokesman for the Unitarians says the group wanted to protest before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the controversial immigration measure.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce a ruling next week.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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