WESTWOOD — Nine immigration rights protesters were detained after about 200 students and supporters shut down a section of Wilshire Boulevard in front of the Federal Building today to rally in support of a federal measure that would make it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens.
California Highway Patrol Officer Miguel Luevano says the demonstrators lay down on Wilshire Boulevard in front of the federal building.
He says six women and three men were detained, taken to a CHP station, cited for refusal to disperse and released.
The rally was organized by several UCLA students and other protesters to show their support for the DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation that "creates a conditional path to citizenship'' for young people, according to their website.
Under the act, undocumented young people have to graduate college or complete two years of military service to gain citizenship, the website stated.
The students also protested Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law that empowers police to check on the immigration status of suspects they stop for other reasons.
Demonstrators blocked traffic along Wilshire Boulevard, marching in a circle. Police closed streets around the Federal Building, and motorists were advised to find alternate routes into Westwood.
"I am upholding the legacy of the civil rights movement, when many people were denied their human rights, one being the right to an education,'' said Charlene Gonzalez, one of the protestors.
Gonzalez is a fifth-year UCLA student majoring in biological anthropology, according to her statement released by El Random Hero.
Another protestor, UCLA student Andrea Ortega, said, "I am doing this so that students will no longer be terrorized by legislation like SB1070 in Arizona, and not have to go to school in fear that their families are deported back home.''
The group did not have a permit to hold their rally, and the LAPD got a call around 10:45 a.m. saying an immigrants' rights demonstration was under way.
Officer April Harding said police had "sufficient resources'' at the scene to maintain order during the demonstration at Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue.
The California Highway Patrol advised motorists to use alternate routes into Westwood, as traffic had been backed up onto the 405 in both directions near the Wilshire Boulevard exits.