Nearly 200 Arrested in Third Night of Anti-Trump Protests in Downtown L.A.

Kate Mather et al., Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2016

Nearly 200 people were arrested early Friday after demonstrators flooded the streets of downtown Los Angeles and marched between City Hall and the Staples Center, the third night of demonstrations against the election of Donald Trump as president.

An estimated 185 people were arrested and one officer was injured during the hours-long demonstrations, LAPD officials said. {snip}

The crowd halted traffic but was mostly peaceful, although some vandalized property with graffiti, hurled bottles and launched fireworks during the incidents late Thursday and early Friday. At one point, a large boom resembling that of a firecracker thundered near 2nd and Spring streets.

One person defaced a Los Angeles police cruiser, prompting officers to reach for beanbag shotguns, but a clash with demonstrators was avoided.

{snip}

The arrests were made sometime after 1 a.m., mostly for vandalism or disobedience of a lawful order, according to Sgt. Jack Richter, an LAPD spokesman.

Richter said officers have noticed a “significant amount” of graffiti on downtown buildings and will have “zero tolerance” for anyone who remains in the downtown area after officers gave dispersal orders to various crowds of protesters near the Staples Center around 11:30 p.m.

The crowd swelled to more than 300 as it marched through the city, many shouting profane chants that disparaged Trump. “Not my president” echoed throughout the downtown corridors.

{snip}

The protests mirrored demonstrations across the state. In Oakland, about 100 protesters poured onto the eastbound lanes of the Interstate 580 at 9:30 p.m. and blocked traffic, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Marc Johnston.

Seven business were vandalized, trash cans were set on fire and officers found one protester with a “cache” of Molotov cocktails, Oakland police said. Officers arrested 11 people on various charges including assault on police, vandalism, failure to disperse and public intoxication, police said.

{snip}

Still, the crowds were smaller on Thursday than the thousands of people who protested Wednesday. Of those, hundreds flooded the 101 Freeway, one of the main arteries through downtown L.A., blocking traffic and ultimately prompting police to move in.

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“Folks need an avenue by which to express themselves–we want to provide them with that,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in an interview. “But we want them to do it in a lawful manner.”

Those remarks were echoed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who told reporters he was proud of the activism he saw Wednesday night. Although the majority of protesters were peaceful, he said, he feared the message could be overshadowed by the unlawful behavior of a few.

“There’s no place for the destruction of property or the dangerous stoppage of traffic in a city where the overall majority of people are exercising in peaceful protest,” he said. “You’re getting in the way of 99% of people’s own message.”

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