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Hundreds of LA Demonstrators Are Protesting the Police Clearing Out Homeless Camps in Echo Park

Hundreds met outside of Echo Park in Los Angeles, California to protest the planned mass removal of a large scale homeless camp by police. Early Thursday morning, L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell announced that Echo Park had been closed to pedestrian traffic, saying police were planning to clear out the homeless camps because Echo Park had “devolved into a very dangerous place for everyone there.” Protestors say the forced and sudden evictions amount to criminalizing poverty, as homeless people who had made the camp their home will soon see their homes, possessions and even pets confiscated by police.

Though a statement from the LAPD said the protests were “largely peaceful,” videos posted to social media showed tense standoffs between protestors and police as the city attempted to install fencing around the lake.

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Police say the fencing was being erected at night but nobody was forcefully evicted over night. The Echo Park Tent Community released a statement of their own, condemning the city’s lack of compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic and calling on O’Farrell to either “please continue to leave us alone or stand with us.”

“Stand in solidarity with all your constituents, not just those with money and housing,” the statement continued. “And watch us as we make sure District 13 becomes a beacon of light for the world.”

In January of 2020, the City of Los Angeles made a similar attempt to clear Echo Park out, but efforts were hamstrung by organized activism. “What we learned last year when we fought is that the vast majority of people get it, they get it, they get that they could be in this situation, that that could be your mother or your brother,” Ayman Ahmed with Echo Park Rises Up told CBSLA. “And they support us.”

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