Los Angeles police said they arrested several people Friday afternoon during an immigration protest in Santa Monica, after the protesters blocked an intersection along President Barack Obama's motorcade route.
The protest at the corner of San Vicente Blvd. and 26th St. was organized by immigrant advocacy groups, who planned it to coincide with a nearby fundraiser attended by Obama during his visit to Los Angeles. A similar protest occurred in Chicago last week near an event at which the president was scheduled to speak. Both protests are part of a national campaign being waged by immigrant activists to persuade the White House to halt deportations while an immigration overhaul is being debated in Congress.
Police said they received a call around 2:30 p.m. about protesters taking over the intersection in Santa Monica and that 11 people were arrested, but had no further details. Organizers said the people arrested were a mix of activists and young immigrants. The Immigrant Youth Coalition, one of the groups organizing the rally, wrote about the rally and arrests on its website.
B. Loewe, an activist with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said the civil disobedience was planned and that about seven of the protesters are young people who are in the U.S. illegally.
Loewe said the 11 protesters were being gradually released from custody throughout the late afternoon and are to appear in court in July; police said they could not confirm any releases or charges.