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Police preparing for big protests as Trump makes first California visit as president

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A protest in Los Angeles in 2017.
(Los Angeles Times)

With President Trump heading to the Los Angeles area Tuesday for a high-dollar campaign fundraiser on his first White House visit to California, law enforcement will be ratcheting up in preparation for potential protests.

While details of the Trump visit remain clouded in secrecy, he is scheduled to attend an evening fundraiser for his reelection campaign when he visits California for the first time in his presidency and Los Angeles police and sheriff’s officials are ready for spontaneous protests. Earlier in the day, Trump will inspect prototypes for a border wall, a key component of his campaign platform of a tough line on immigration.

His administration and the state’s Democratic leadership have repeatedly clashed over immigration, environmental and other policies. The visit comes on the heels of the Department of Justice suing California over state laws that offer protections for immigrants in the country illegally.

“We are prepared for anything,” said Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Horace Frank, who oversees the counter-terrorism and special operations bureau. Frank said while no permitted protests in the form of marches are planned, authorities do expect to see protesters and supporters out in numbers during a presidential visit.

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At least one protest is planned in the Beverly Hills area between 4 and 8 p.m Tuesday by a Facebook group, Trump Not Welcome in LA. The LAPD is preparing for many more protests of various sizes on the Westside.

“I anticipate many more once his itinerary is known,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Dennis Kato, who oversees the department’s West Bureau.

Trump’s earlier visits to L.A. while he was a candidate did bring out demonstrators.

Some protests are also planned for the San Diego area.

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The political group Union del Barrio’s Los Angeles chapter is organizing the Beverly Hills protest.

Ron Gochez, a political secretary with the chapter, said more than 1,000 people were following the Beverly Hills protest Facebook page even though he was still unclear about where the protest would take place.

“He cannot step foot in this state and not expect an organized response to denounce him,” Gochez said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said as with all presidential visits his deputies will be involved in supporting the U.S. Secret Service and ensure public safety. McDonnell said so far there are no formal protests but he expects “more spontaneous social media drive” actions.

Police officials say they will enforce laws that require protesters to stay off the streets and private property and will keep supporters and protesters from engaging in physical confrontation. In the past, large immigration marches and anti-Trump protests have seen clashes between supporters of the president and his opponents.

Officers in the event of trouble will be ready to deploy to potential protest hot spots but will seek to keep a low profile unless needed, officials said.

While the fundraiser is described as in Beverly Hills, police officials there on Friday said the president is not scheduled to visit the city. Often areas in adjacent Los Angeles are described as Beverly Hills because they use a Beverly Hills postcode. Several key Trump fundraisers who actively participated in his presidential campaign live in those areas.

Donors will contribute up to $250,000 each to Trump’s campaign and various Republican National Committee accounts to attend the Tuesday evening event at an undisclosed location in Beverly Hills.

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The fundraiser is being hosted by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, national finance chairman Todd Ricketts and deputy national finance chairman Elliott Broidy.

Whether supporters or protesters see much of the presidential motorcade remains to be seen. Exactly how Trump plans to get to the fundraiser remains under wraps as is usual for the U.S. Secret Service. President Obama, who regularly made the trip to Hollywood fundraisers, came in for criticism for repeatedly causing traffic jams on the city’s Westside. On some occasions, that lead Obama to fly a helicopter into an open field nearer the venue.

Earlier in the day, Trump will inspect border wall prototypes in San Diego. There the county sheriff seeing the potential for clashes between supporters and opponents has had the county institute a ban on a possession of a variety of objects including, rocks, bottles and bats surrounding the area where the president is slated to visit Tuesday morning.

The border wall is among the most contentious issues that have seen the heavily Democratic California and its politicians repeatedly clash with the Republican president.

To read this article in Spanish click here

richard.winton@latimes.com

Twitter: @lacrimes


UPDATES:

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10 a.m.: This post was updated with more details about protests.

This post was originally published at 8:36 a.m.


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