LOS ANGELES — Eight people were arrested Tuesday, Jan. 26, for blocking an intersection near the Immigration & Customs Enforcement building in downtown Los Angeles to protest deportations of Central American refugees.
Organizers said as many as three hundred people protested near Los Angeles and Temple streets, and some of them lay down on the pavement while others walked in a circle around them.
The intersection was closed, and police routed traffic away from the area. The California Highway Patrol also closed the Hollywood (101) Freeway onramps and offramps at Los Angeles Street.
Police announced to the protesters that the gathering was considered an “unlawful assembly” and ordered them to disperse, said Los Angeles police Officer Matt Ludwig.
The protesters who were standing moved away from the intersection, but eight remained lying on the ground, their arms entwined and covered in lengths of pipe that had to be cut by authorities, police said. Those protesters were then taken into custody.
“I’m doing this for all the families who are being separated, for the children who are being traumatized, and for community members who are currently at risk of being deported,” said protester Luis Enrique Gonzales.
The LAPD’s Central Bureau was placed on tactical alert during the protest, which allows commanders to hold officers over at the end of their shifts. The tactical alert was lifted by afternoon Ludwig said.
According to spokeswoman Tessie Borden of the Central American Resource Center, the protesters took the action to raise awareness against “cruel raids on Central American refugees,” especially women and children. Borden said that the protest was planned to be a peaceful protest.
Other organizations that supported the protest included the Immigration Youth Coalition, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance and National Day Laborer Organizing Network, she said.