LAPD breaks up anti-Trump protest downtown; about 150 are arrested

About 150 anti-Donald Trump protesters were arrested in downtown Los Angeles early Saturday morning after refusing the LAPD's order to disperse on what marked the fourth night of unrest following the presidential election.

One by one, police led the protesters out of Grand Park, securing their hands with zip-ties before loading them onto school buses. Protesters who threw rocks at police were shot at with beanbag guns outside Grand Park.

A demonstrator named Tarik, who refused to give his last name, said he couldn't understand why police chose to arrest so many people after a protest that was largely calm.

"By my views of what is just and what is right, this is wrong," he said.

The demonstration drew an estimated 3,000 protesters. Pumping their fists in the air, demonstrators cheered and whistled as they marched among honking cars in the streets around City Hall Friday evening, sometimes chanting, “Not my president.”

By midnight, the crowd had marched from City Hall to LA Live and toward the Westlake neighborhood before circling back downtown. As they passed apartment buildings, people stepped out of their homes to cheer.

When the crowd returned to City Hall just before midnight, the LAPD issued a dispersal order, calling the gathering a “violent congregation” and threatening to use less-than-lethal force if necessary. 

A group of protesters gathered at Grand Park and refused to leave, including one dressed as a brick-wall that read, “Wall off Trump.”  As police surrounded the park, several demonstrators panicked and ran, while others were blocked in.

“You’re not going home, you had your chance," an LAPD officer told someone who asked to leave.

Shortly thereafter, police began making the arrests.

Earlier in the evening, the LAPD had detained two people, while the California Highway Patrol arrested several for vandalism and one protester who allegedly threw a thermos at officers. Demonstrators who saw the arrests yelled at officers, who then led the suspects away.

The CHP, whose officers blocked on ramps and off ramps throughout downtown, thwarted a group of demonstrators from entering the 110 Freeway.

“We’re trying to take a proactive approach to prevent them from getting on there,” CHP Officer Stephan Brandt said.

The LAPD had made its presence felt earlier on Friday than in past nights, posting at least two dozen officers wearing riot helmets in the middle of Spring Street near City Hall around 8:30 p.m. But the officers stepped out of the way as the group began to march, remaining still even as several protesters berated them and accused them of supporting Trump.

“Once they start being disruptive is when we’re going to take enforcement action,” LAPD Officer Tony Im said. “We’re just allowing them to voice their opinion and just make sure they’re not hurting anyone.”

Mike Thornton, a 55-year-old veteran who served in the U.S. Army in 1991, limped alongside the protesters wielding a cane and said he was out to protest Trump’s proposed healthcare cuts. He dismissed suggestions that the protesters had offended military members by demonstrating on Veterans Day.

“They’ve been coming up and shaking people’s hands. Some of their family members are veterans,” he said. “It’s about more than veterans. We need to stand up for everybody. That’s the way it should be.”

alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter @AleneTchek

james.queally@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter @JamesQueallyLAT

ALSO

What it's like to defend Trump

Woman accosted on Bay Area train: 'Trump might deport you'

Demonstration by 20 women briefly blocks traffic on 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa


UPDATES:

1:27 a.m.: This article has been updated with updated arrest numbers.

1:15 a.m.: This article has been updated with protester quotes.

12:45 a.m.: This article has been updated with arrest of protesters.

12:35 a.m.: This article was updated with protesters being surrounded by police.

12 a.m.: This article was updated with the LAPD order to disperse.

11:31 p.m.: This article was updated with an updated crowd estimate and information about arrests.

9:56 p.m.: This article was updated with an updated crowd estimate and additional information from the LAPD.

9:23 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the protests.

This article was originally published at 8:40 p.m.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
70°