The demonstrations came a year after rallies on immigration issues were staged statewide. This time, however, the number was a fraction of the thousands who turned out in 2006. Local police and school districts were prepared this year. West Covina and county sheriff’s beefed up their patrols. Hacienda La Puente Unified sent letters home to students, highlighting the penalties of walking out, and Covina Valley Unified issued automated calls saying that Friday was not an official school holiday. But in Los Angeles, students still wanted to march. “Just like Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez is a hero to all Latinos,” said Cynthia Gomez, 16. “We should honor him in the same way.” “Cesar Chavez did a lot for us,” said Jose Lopez, a high school freshman, who was marching with his father in Oakland. “This is just us doing a little bit to honor him.” Latino students and others staged small marches in California on Friday to demand that the birthday of the late United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez become a national holiday and that Congress pass a legalization program for the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. About 875 students from 13 Los Angeles middle schools and high schools walked out of class or skipped school to participate in the marches, said Angie Levine, a Los Angeles Unified School District spokeswoman. About 100 marched in Sacramento, another 100 demonstrated in Oakland, and about 35 walked out in Pomona. As they walked in Los Angeles, teens chanted “Si se puede!” or “Yes we can!” “If the government won’t do it, we have to come out here and force them to,” said Roberto Vera, 14. “Everybody is equal. It doesn’t matter where you were born.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!