LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles police declared a citywide tactical alert Wednesday night after protesters and officers clashed in Lake Echo Park over the city’s plan to close the park and remove a homeless encampment.
The LAPD has been asked to assist the public safety department in erecting a fence to restore Echo Park, said City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, in whose district the park is located, in a statement. Department personnel will be dispatched to ensure that this operation can begin safely and unhindered.
Our homeless outreach workers will be back tomorrow morning to continue to reach out to the homeless in the park and provide shelter and services to anyone who wants and needs help, the press release said.
Police ordered the demonstration dispersed shortly before 10:45 p.m., declaring it an illegal gathering.
In a tweet, the LAPD urged people to leave the area peacefully.
The Los Angeles Police Department continues to ask for calm and cooperation while the fence continues to be installed as part of the restoration of Echo Park, he said in a tweet. Unfortunately, the officers came under fire and were pushed back by people blocking roads in the area.
The ministry also said no use of force had been reported.
Several trucks with fences were placed on the road near Dodger Stadium. The workers confirmed that they will be deployed to fence the outside of the park once the police clear the way.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people spoke out against a plan to temporarily close Echo Park Lake to clear the large-scale encampment and clean up the estimated $500,000 in damage.
A group of protesters marched from the park to O’Farrell’s office and blocked part of Sunset Boulevard shortly before 8 a.m. Several hundred people eventually returned to Echo Park Lake, vowing to stay if the city tried to evict the uninhabited population.
They want these people out of here, out of the park, yes, they will intervene just to get to the hotel, community activist Carlos Marroquin told CBSLA Wednesday. But what happens next? These vouchers are not permanent, they are temporary.
According to authorities, the city is in the process of relocating more than 100 people living in the park to emergency shelters and temporary housing.
In January and February 2020, the city held similar cleanups, which also led to mass protests.
What we learned last year when we were fighting is that the vast majority of people understand, they get it, they understand that they could be in this situation, that it could be your mother or your brother, and they support us, Ayman Ahmed of Echo Park Rises Up told CBSLA Tuesday.
Advocates also called a Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday to oppose the park’s proposed closure.
I think people who don’t own homes, aren’t rich or don’t have special interests are equally valuable residents and members of this community, said Zarina Williams, president of the O’Farrell Echo Park Neighborhood Council, which convened Tuesday’s city council meeting.
But others who live near the park say the city should have removed it long ago.
Personally, I haven’t visited the park in over a year because it doesn’t seem hygienic or safe, a woman told City News Service. I also worry that the $45 million the city has invested in rebuilding the park will be wasted.
O’Farrell told KNX Radio: Four dead on the lake, several overdoses. There have been incidents of sexual assault, including sexual violence. Reports on sheltered and unsheltered persons in cases of cruelty to animals.
The city has also offered to mark and store the people’s property.
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