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DACA demonstrators shut down intersection in Westwood

Immigration rights demonstrators blocked the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue in Westwood on Thursday morning, creating a traffic nightmare for commuters while police scrambled to restore order.

Dozens of people protesting the end of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program filled the intersection with metal bunk beds — the type commonly seen in immigrant detention facilities and jails — while others stood hand in hand in the middle of crosswalks as drivers honked incessantly.

The demonstrators held up signs referring to DACA, and chanted phrases like “stop deportation,” and “black lives matter”.

The LAPD declared an unlawful assembly around 10:30 a.m. and threatened to arrest the demonstrators. Nine people were taken into custody.

As some officers made arrests others removed the beds from the intersection, less than half a mile from the federal building on Wilshire. Many drivers, visibly annoyed at the impromptu traffic blockade, refused to wait and weaved around the beds and dodged officers to drive through the intersection anyway.

By 10:45 a.m. the demonstration had moved to the sidewalk, where more protesters gathered, along with curious bystanders. A line of helmeted officers holding batons kept protesters from reentering the intersection.

Thursday was the last day for recipients to reapply for DACA protection. The program has allowed individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country without risk of deportation under certain conditions.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.


UPDATES:

12:15 p.m.: This article was updated with nine people being people taken into custody.

11 a.m.: This article was updated with police clearing the intersection.

This article was originally published at 10:35 a.m.

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