Tuesday, September 7, 2010

33 charged with blocking L.A. city streets during immigration protests

Photo: Fourteen people were arrested when demonstrators gathered May 6 on Alameda Street in front of the Federal Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles to protest Arizona's new immigration law. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles prosecutors have charged 33 immigration activists with a variety of misdemeanor crimes related to three protests beginning in May that blocked city streets.

The protesters face charges, such as remaining at an unlawful assembly, resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer and blocking the sidewalk or street.

Those facing resisting-arrest charges face up to year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Those charged with unlawful assembly face up to six months in jail if found guilty, a spokesman for the city attorney's office said.

In the first incident May 6, eight women and six men participated in a protest against the new Arizona immigration law by blocking an intersection near the federal courthouse on Alameda Street with their hands locked together inside tube devices.

Prosecutors claim it took officers several hours to remove the protesters, who are to be arraigned Sept. 22.

Later in the month, California Highway Patrol officers arrested nine immigration protesters in front of the West Los Angeles Federal Building. The suspects sat in the street, locking their hands together and causing a massive traffic jam for several blocks.

On July 29, protesters blocked the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue by putting their hands together in a locking device and refusing to move.

Officers had to physically carry the demonstrators and used specialized equipment to remove the elaborate tube and chain locking systems connecting the protesters' arms.

-- Richard Winton


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