Mexico World Cup fans force ramp shutdowns on 5 Freeway in Pacoima
Crowds of soccer fans celebrating Mexico’s World Cup win poured onto the streets in the Pacoima area, forcing authorities to shut down offramps and onramps on the 5 Freeway and declare a citywide police alert.
The crowds were facing off with officers near Laurel Canyon and Van Nuys boulevards. Late Monday, officers declared an unlawful assembly and ordered crowds to disperse.
Around the same time, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a tactical alert, which requires officers citywide to remain on duty.
Fans on the streets cleared the streets as officers on foot and in patrol cars moved in, according to television news footage. At least two people were taken into custody.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m. Monday, LAPD’s Foothill Division declared a “peaceful end to the unlawful assembly.”
The freeway ramp closures were on Van Nuys Boulevard, Osborne Street and Terra Bella Street, the California Highway Patrol said.
The CHP issued a SigAlert late Monday for the eastbound 118 Freeway after the Laurel Canyon offramp was closed at the request of police trying to control the crowds.
Large groups of fans -- some of them waving green-red-and-white Mexican flags -- were roaming the area, according to television news footage. Some people surrounded a vehicle and began rocking it.
The Los Angeles Police Department initially said that the crowds were celebratory but peaceful as people began to gather shortly before 7 p.m. “Right now it doesn’t seem like there’s any major problem,” Officer Drake Madison said.
At Laurel Canyon and Van Nuys boulevard, where people had filled the streets and set off fireworks, police lined up and watched the crowds, according to television news footage.
Earlier Monday, authorities in Huntington Park arrested at least four people after hundreds of fans celebrating Mexico’s 3-1 victory over Croatia poured onto the streets.
The win by Mexico allows them to advance to the round of 16 in the international soccer championship in Brazil.
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