Local News in Brief : Arrests of Day Laborers Protested

Shouting "the people united will never be defeated" in Spanish, about 200 people gathered in front of Los Angeles Police Department headquarters Monday to protest the arrest last week of more than two dozen day laborers as they waited for work on a street corner.

"We come here today to demand a more gentle, more compassionate Police Department," actor Martin Sheen told the crowd outside Parker Center.

Demonstration leaders delivered a letter addressed to Chief Daryl F. Gates charging that the arrests Thursday just south of downtown were "totally anti-democratic and racist" and violated "the fundamental right to work."

Police officials said last week that the arrests at Main Street and Pico Boulevard were prompted by complaints from merchants about the growing number of workers congregated on the corner.

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