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Black Lives Matter activists shut down 405 Freeway in Westchester

The southbound 405 Freeway was briefly shut down Wednesday afternoon in Westchester after activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement went onto the freeway, activists and officials said.

Activist Pete White said up to nine people were taken into custody by the California Highway Patrol after they carried a banner onto the freeway and began chalking messages.

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CHP Officer Peter Bishop confirmed the southbound freeway lanes were blocked for about "10, 15 minutes" shortly before 1:30 p.m. Bishop was not able to confirm whether any arrests had been made.

Activists affiliated with Black Lives Matter sent out a news release, saying they would be on the 405 Freeway.

"On one of the busiest travel days of the year, Black Lives Matter is calling for a halt on Christmas as usual in memorial of all of the loved ones we have lost and continue to lose this year to law enforcement violence without justice or recourse," the news release said.

Black Lives Matter has gained national prominence in recent months for its protests of police killings and calls for reform. Activists called for a national day of action on Wednesday, which was deemed "Black Xmas."

White said Wednesday's demonstration was motivated in part by the L.A. County district attorney's recent decision not to charge a CHP officer who repeatedly punched a woman, Marlene Pinnock, along the 10 Freeway.

That officer was forced to step down as part of a $1.5-million settlement that Pinnock received in connection with last summer's beating, which was recorded by a passing motorist.

"The message continues to be: There will not be business as usual as long as black lives continue to not matter," White said.

Follow @katemather on Twitter for more L.A. news.

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