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Business owners accuse protests of eroding progress in DTLA

Eric Zassenhaus/KPCC

Los Angeles police officers and Occupy LA protesters clashed at ArtWalk, leading to 17 arrests and four injuries.

Downtown business owners asked the City Council Tuesday to step in and "do something" about what they called an assault on years of improvements in the district. Specifically, speakers accused Occupy L.A. and the Los Angeles Community Action Network of making areas of downtown dirty and unhospitable to residents and visitors, shaking the fragile advances the area has made.

Some, like Emma Chavez, were upset about the recent scuffle between protesters and police during ArtWalk on July 12th. Chavez, whose family has owned Ensenada Restaurant on Spring Street for 25 years, told the council her family has "seen the ups and downs of Downtown LA. We're very, very happy that the downtown has turned around."

However, she said, the events that night turned off customers who thought a riot was about to break out. "Artwalk is a very big night for our restaurant," she said. "We need it to make ends meet." As a result of the melee, she said, the restaurant served 50 customers that night instead of their usual ArtWalk crowd of 200.