Los Angeles

Downtown LA sees third day of protests against SCOTUS abortion ruling


It was day three of demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles Sunday as the outcry continued against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn federal abortion protections provided under Roe v. Wade.

Around 3:20 p.m. the Los Angeles Police Department said a crowd was heading southbound on Broadway Avenue from Second Street in downtown LA. The public was advised to expect traffic delays in the area.

Sunday’s demonstration, organized by the groups The Feminist Front and Generation Ratify, began at 1 p.m. at Grand Park. It comes on the heels of two days of demonstrations following the U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 decision Friday to overturn 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling.

At 1:48 p.m., the LAPD reported that a “small group” had gathered downtown, but said say the flow of traffic was not affected.

Several streets around the Civic Center were temporarily closed Saturday as two large demonstrations were held in downtown, one at Grand Park and another outside the federal courthouse on First Street, with a third rally held outside the Federal Building in Westwood.

Saturday’s demonstrations were mostly orderly and peaceful, except for a brief attempt by protesters to access the 101 Freeway. Police said a group entered the off-ramp from Broadway Avenue at about 3:42 p.m., but the off-ramp was cleared about 17 minutes later.

Friday’s protests were not as peaceful, however, as a 30-year-old man was arrested for allegedly attacking a police officer with a “makeshift flamethrower” and could face charges of attempted murder.

Hundreds of protesters gathered downtown in the hours after the Supreme Court announced its decision, and after some skirmishes occurred, the LAPD declared an unlawful assembly and issued a temporary citywide tactical alert to clear the streets.

Two people were arrested and four officers were injured, LAPD officials said.

Michael Ortiz, 30, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and Juliana Bernado, 23, on suspicion of resisting an officer.

Police said Ortiz hurled a makeshift flame thrower at an officer who had to be treated for burns at a hospital. Bernado allegedly tried to take an officer’s baton, prompting police to fire a 40 mm less-lethal round at her before she was taken into custody.

“I condemn the violence against officers that occurred last night (Friday) and into today (Saturday morning),” Police Chief Michel Moore said Saturday. “Individuals participating in such criminal activity are not exercising their First Amendment rights in protest of the Supreme Court decision, rather, they are acting as criminals. The Department will vigorously pursue prosecution of these individuals.”

The Police Protective League also issued a lengthy statement Saturday condemning the actions of some in the crowd at Friday’s protest.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Full House” star Jodie Sweetin spoke out Sunday after alleging that police officers pushed her to the ground at an abortion rights demonstration in L.A.

On Saturday, photographer Michael Ade uploaded social media video of LAPD officers shoving Sweetin, who was protesting.

“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said in a statement obtained by the Times.

“Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken,” she said. “This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until all of us are free.”

A reporter with L.A. Taco,  a platform that covers food and culture, tweeted late Friday that he also was assaulted by a group of officers.

“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,” tweeted Lexis-Oliver Ray.

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

Spokeswoman Norma Eisenman of the LAPD’s Media Relations Division said on Saturday that the department had no comment on Ray’s tweets. She added that no media staging area was set up for the demonstrations.

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