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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / LA protests against abortion decision continue after hundreds demonstrate

LA protests against abortion decision continue after hundreds demonstrate

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Protesters will likely again take to the streets Saturday in downtown Los Angeles in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned nearly 50 years of federal abortion protections under the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The demonstration is organized by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and set for 1 p.m. outside the First Street federal courthouse. Another large protest began at 10 a.m. in Grand Park.

Hundreds of protesters gathered Friday in downtown Los Angeles in the hours after the Supreme Court decision was announced. The demonstrations were mostly nonviolent, but some clashes with Los Angeles Police Department officers occurred, prompting the LAPD to declare an unlawful assembly and issue a temporary citywide tactical alert in order to clear the streets.

Some people in the crowd climbed onto the Harbor (110) Freeway, and police arrested at least one person, according to media reports.

Several speakers delivered fervent remarks to the crowd, decrying the ruling as an assault on women’s civil rights and danger to women’s lives.

One speaker, her voice quaking, told the crowd, “I’m angry. We’re all angry. People at home are angry,” according to City News Service. “We are very fortunate to live here in California. I worry for my friends and family in Texas.”

Another speaker said she was “very frustrated” and blasted assertions that banning abortion is a “pro-life” decision.

“Don’t tell me this is a pro-life issue when we have situations like Uvalde,” she said, referring to the Texas town where a mass shooting killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school. “They don’t care about kids. They don’t care about people who are dying.”

Demonstrators entered the northbound side of the 110 freeway at Fifth Street around 7 p.m. A different group of protesters clashed with a police line attempting to block their advance down an on-ramp, according to news reports.

Dozens of protesters chanted at Eighth and Olive streets as police in riot gear pushed through the intersection, according to KCAL9. Someone launched a firework into the crowd, causing some people to disperse.

The LAPD issued a dispersal order in the area of Fourth and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles around 9:30 p.m., and Main Street between Third and Fifth streets in was closed for nearly an hour.

Similar protests and rallies were quickly organized in other areas including at Pershing Square, outside city halls in downtown Los Angeles and Burbank, in Hollywood, Pasadena, Long Beach, Claremont, Fullerton and Irvine.

In West Hollywood, abortion-rights protesters held a candlelight vigil Friday night, and Beverly Hills officials said City Hall would be bathed in pink light throughout the weekend to show solidarity with women’s rights.

Los Angeles City Hall was similarly illuminated in pink lights Friday night, City News Service reported.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore told KNX Newsradio on Friday his police force was changing deployment plans to ensure police are prepared to respond if any protests in the coming days get out of hand and turn violent, as was the case in May 2020 during large-scale protests following George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police.

“Los Angeles will be safe,” Moore told KNX. “What was learned from two years ago were lessons in training and development of added tools. We’re not going to have any tolerance for people who wish to hijack this and resort to violence.”

Some on social media described the LAPD response to the downtown demonstrations as “heavy handed,” City News Service reported.

Moore said some crowd members pelted officers with fireworks at Fifth and Main streets, and at least one person was arrested, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While the protests were loud though mostly without violent incidents, there were scattered clashes between demonstrators and police.

A reporter with L.A. Taco, a platform that covers food and  culture, tweeted that he was assaulted by a group of officers, City News Service reported.

“LAPD officers shoved me and jabbed @joeyneverjoe in the stomach with a baton, sending him to the ground. We both identified ourselves as press repeatedly,” Lexis-Oliver Ray tweeted.

On a video, officers in riot gear can be heard shouting “leave the area, go back” and Ray describing himself as a member of the press.

Moore acknowledged the protests were not severely violent but observed that some people sought to make his officers’ job more difficult, including a group that blocked a section of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway.

“I’m grateful today’s events were largely peaceful,” Moore tweeted. “A much smaller group of individuals took to the streets with the intention of creating chaos and destruction. Unfortunately some chose to enter the freeway, posing a serious risk. Later, a much smaller group fired pyrotechnics at officers.

“Our people strived to facilitate demonstrations while defending our people from dangerous assaults.”

Updated June 25, 2022, 10:23 a.m.

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