Immigration activists block LA intersection [Updated]

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Brian Watt/KPCC

Los Angeles Police Department officers use cutting devices to free protesters who had linked their arms together at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue in L.A.

In Los Angeles, hundreds of demonstrators calling themselves "Todos Somos Arizona" converged in the intersection of Highland Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard to protest the Arizona law earlier today. L.A police say they have cleared the intersection of protestors as of 2:30 p.m.


Updated at 2:56 p.m. | Permalink

Police clear protestors from intersection
Brian Watt
LAPD police have cleared the equipment they used to cut the tubes of the "sleeping dragon" that bound protestors together at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.
Organizers said there will be a rally at 5 p.m. outside the jail at 77th and Broadway, where most of the arrested demonstrators have been taken.

Updated 1:34 p.m.

On the day Arizona's contentious immigration law took effect, dozens of immigrant-rights protesters rallied today in front of the Los Angeles offices of an international security consulting firm, saying they would protest until Arizona's law was overturned.

There were no immediate reports of any arrests in the protest, which began shortly after 10 a.m. outside the corporate offices of G4S Wackenhut Corp., 4929 Wilshire Blvd. near Hancock Park.

Police were on the scene and closed down the intersection of Wilshire and Highland Avenue. One of the protest organizers said they would do what it takes to get out their message.

Paulina Gonzalez of the We Are All Arizona Collective told KNX Newsradio G4S was benefiting financially from Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, some portions of which took effect today.

"We are making the point today that we don't want ... tax dollars going to these corporations to be enforcing racist immigration laws," Gonzalez said. "And that's why we're here today. We're going to be out here protesting until this law is overturned...

"Dr. [Martin Luther] King said to us it is our moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws, and we are prepared if needed to go to jail in order to get our message across," she said.

About a dozen protesters chained themselves together in the middle of the intersection.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said people have a right to demonstrate, but they should do it peacefully.

"It is not in anyone's interest to block freeways, to engage in violence," he said. "The best thing we can do is exercise our freedom of speech, our freedom to assemble, and do so in a very constructive way."

- KPCC Wire Services

Original story:

At 10 a.m. the intersection looked normal, except for the media trucks that had gathered. There was no sign of anything. But 15 minutes later, more than a dozen people showed up with black tubes. They walked out into the middle of the intersection and joined hands through those tubes.

The group laid down in middle of the street, blocking off traffic around a hand-painted banner reading, "End all deportation."

Police arrived about 10 minutes later and blocked off traffic, creating a perimeter around the demonstrators. About 10 police officers were on scene. By 11 a.m. they had the place surrounded but had not moved in and made any arrests.

The demonstrators chose this intersection, the location where G4S Wackenhut's L.A. offices are located. The company transports immigrants out of the country once they've been detained. The group chanted, "No justice. No peace" and "These are our streets."

A man with held up a hand-made banner reading, "We will not settle for an injunction."

Clare Fox, 28, of San Fernando, said the group was a selection of students and activists.

"This all came together very magically."

Police say they were not forewarned of the protest, but that there have been no arrests.

The AP contributed to this report.

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