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Anti- and pro-Trump protesters face off in downtown L.A. rally

A protest against President Donald Trump drew a group of counter-demonstrators to downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 4, with the two groups kept apart by police.

The group Refuse Fascism started the demonstration at Pershing Square at 1 p.m. as part of an organized group of protests across the United States.

By late afternoon, at least two people had been detained or arrested. One was an anti-Trump protester who tried to push through makeshift barricades set up to keep the groups separated. Another involved a protester who failed to move out of the middle of the street, in the area between the demonstrators, despite repeated demands from police.

As of 2:30 p.m., the crowd numbered about 1,000 people, with most on the anti-Trump side.

Los Angeles Police Department Detective Meghan Aguilar said the Refuse Fascism group had a permit for the event, but the counter protest did not.

One of the speakers and “co-initiator” of Refuse Fascism, Isabel Cardenas, said Trump needs to be removed because he and his regime divides people and promotes white supremacy like Nazi Germany.

“This country is built by immigrants,” Cardenas said.

She added the turnout was not low because one of the slogans was “Nov. 4 it begins” and Saturday’s event was just the start. “We expect it to grow in thousands and grow in millions.”

A march began a little after 2 p.m. with people holding many of the event’s signs that said “The Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

Before the march, a group of counter protesters waving U.S. flags was across the street yelling with bullhorns and chanting to try and disrupt speakers for Refuse Facism.

A small group from Refuse Facism broke away from the crowd to yell back at the counter protesters while the LAPD stood in front of both groups and put up yellow tape.

Jennifer Martinez, 38 of Garden Grove said she was part of the counter protest and held a U.S. flag.

“We are out here supporting our president and show the American flag. The other side refuses to show it.”

Martinez said her group had 60-70 people and called their efforts “always a success.”

Dee Cole, 46, of Lancaster held one of the Refuse Fascism signs before the rally.

Cole said Trump was trying to take away 1st Amendment rights from people to where “I feel like you can’t kneel, you can’t do anything. And he’s a white supremacist. He views white people as superior. So we need black, white, Asian and everybody to get this guy out of office.”

She was disappointed because of what she felt was a low turnout and added “not a lot of people must be watching the news.” She felt if her voice on Saturday could reach a new person, then she was happy.

Randy Dixon, 57, watched as the protesters set up on 5th Street near Hill Street, and pronounced the rally a waste of time.

“I think it’s crazy. It’s useless. It’s not going to get Trump out of office,” Dixon said. “He’s here for the duration unless they find something illegal about him.”

Organizers said they have been threatened with violence by opposing groups, and police said they would be out in force at the gathering, armed with a new city ordinance limiting what people can bring to such assemblies.

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday amended an existing ordinance and created the list of banned items —  including shields, torches, rods, mace, glass bottles and baseball bats — in an attempt to avoid violence that has occurred at demonstrations in cities such as Berkeley and Charlottesville, Va.

“We will be operating off of this particular ordinance, which is a very good thing. It’s an important tool that the City Council has given us as law enforcement, and we are very happy about that,” LAPD Assistant Chief Horace Frank told City News Service.

Anyone who showed up at the Los Angeles event carrying an item on the list of newly banned items was subject to citation or arrest if they do not respond to a warning from police.

The city ordinance contains a long list of items banned at any protests, demonstrations, rallies, picket lines and public assemblies. Among the banned items are firearms, knives, swords, shields, baseball or softball bats, aerosol spray, tear gas, mace, glass bottles, axes, ice picks, nunchucks, Tasers, projectile launchers, bottles or water guns filled with hazardous liquid, open flame torches and ball bearings.

It also regulates signs and banners and the handles they’re mounted on. Signs and banners have to be made of soft material such as cloth, plastic or cardboard. Metal sticks are also banned, while wood or plastic sticks are prohibited unless they are a quarter-of-an-inch or less in thickness, two inches or less in width or not exceed 3/4 of an inch in dimension

Source: daily news

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