Photo by Gerson Repreza via Unsplash

Hundreds of people gathered at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles on March 24 and March 25 to protest against the plan to temporarily close the park and remove homeless encampments.

The city has not announced the closure, but Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell confirmed that the park would be closing for a $500,000 renovation.

More than 100 people live in the park, and city officials are trying to move them into temporary housing. 

Homeless advocates brought together those among the protest on March 24.

The protesters marched from Echo Park to O’Farrell’s office in an attempt to stop the sweep.

Community activist Carlos Marroquin told CBSLA, “They want these people out of here, out of the park, yeah, they’re going to get involved just to go to a hotel.” 

“But what happens after that? Those vouchers are not permanent, they’re temporary.”

Other members of support attempted to call into the Los Angeles City Council meeting on March 23 to stop the park’s closure.

Echo Park neighborhood Council President Zarinah Williams called into the City Council meeting.

“I believe that people who don’t own homes or who aren’t wealthy or don’t have a special interest are residents and are equally valued members of this community,” said Williams.

Homeowners in the community, however, support the park’s idea of being cleaned up and worry that $45 million is a lot to invest for this renovation.

After another protest on March 25, more than 180 people were arrested after refusing to leave the park. 

The two remaining people in the park were arrested the morning of March 26.

The American Civil Liberties Union responded to the Los Angeles Police Department’s actions, including arrests of journalists and legal observers reporting on the protests.

“Taking militarized police action to displace people who are already displaced is cruel and does nothing to bolster public safety. Mass arrests of protesters, legal observers and journalists will not keep the city’s brutal, ill-conceived actions from being known. The city leaders who approved this approach should be held accountable,” the ACLU said.

Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin tweeted in regards to the protests.

“A neighborhood in lockdown. Hundreds of cops in riot gear. Reporters being zip-tied and detained. Protesters being kettled and arrested. This is a disgrace and it did not have to happen. It’s a shameful day for Los Angeles.”

Written ByLauren Akabori

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