Protesters think homeless have a right to live anywhere

Police and protesters clashed near Echo Park Lake late Thursday, March 25, after the city began clearing a homeless encampment in the neighborhood.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the LAPD moved in to break up a crowd of demonstrators that had moved closer to the lake, at Sunset Boulevard and Laymoyne Street.

It was unclear if anyone had been hurt. But by shortly after 9 p.m., officers were walking a line of dozens of detained people with ziptied hands into jail buses in front of the park.

LAPD officers appeared to have confined a group of protesters, and surrounded them after declaring an unlawful assembly shortly after 8 p.m.

“Housing is a human right,” the crowd chanted amid the din of drums and other percussion played by some.

The crowd of around 200 people had marched from a vigil toward Echo Park Lake, where police had spent the day guarding the city’s fenced off, prized recreation area.

LAPD officials said the unlawful assembly declaration was “due to a large crowd who is utilizing high-intensity lights in an attempt to blind officers and prevent them from performing their duties and/or defend themselves if needed.”

Several local news reporters had also been covering the demonstration, at least three of which were detained. At least one was released a short time later.

L.A. Times reporter James Queally was covering the protest when he was detained, along with protesters after police issued a dispersal order for the area, The Times reported.

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