LAPD Declares Unlawful Assembly After Mexico Soccer Fans Rally, Shoot Off Fireworks
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HUNTINGTON PARK (CBSLA.com) — LAPD was reportedly on city-wide tactical alert after rallies involving World Cup fans of the Mexican national team continued to grow through Monday night.
The Police presence began Monday when they were called to keep order after a large gathering of fans of the Mexican soccer team who congregated at an intersection in Huntington Park to celebrate Mexico’s 3-1 victory over Croatia began interfering with traffic.
The Mexican national team beat Croatia in a World Cup match earlier Monday, securing a spot in the Group of 16 round to continue to compete for the Cup.
After the Mexican win, a large number of fans began to gather at the intersection of Pacific and Florence Avenue, waving Mexican flags and shouting as vehicles passed by.
As the number of fans grew, some celebrators spilled over into the street and could be seen stopping and rocking vehicles as they attempted to drive by. In particular, a white pickup was stopped as no fewer than 10 fans attempted to hop onto the vehicle and rock it from side to side.
A number of local residents spoke to KCAL’s Serene Branson, condemning the actions of the fans.
“Don’t disrespect, you know, buses and breaking stuff, breaking glass, throwing (items) and disrespecting the law,” resident Priscila Bautista said. “That is not right.”
Deputies of the Huntington Park Police Department arrived, including mounted equestrian units on horseback, in an attempt to control the growing crowd.
Pacific Avenue was closed through Huntington Park as the deputies held a skirmish line, with the goal of getting the fans to celebrate on the sidewalk and to open traffic.
The crowd took over a westbound lane of Florence, blocking traffic, which backed up for several blocks.
Mounted units, accompanied by units from the California Highway Patrol, forced a large section of the crowd west, but the department experienced issues with fans returning after being cleared away.
Hunting Park Police had made at least four arrests throughout the event. Two of the arrests were reported to be for public intoxication, one was for throwing a bottle at officers, and one for refusing to obey orders to disburse.
The crowd began to dissipate shortly before 8 p.m., though police presence at the scene remained heavy.
Major Huntington Park streets that remained closed through 8 p.m. included stretches of Florence Ave. and Pacific Ave.
One injury was said to have occurred, after one of the celebrators’ feet was reportedly stepped on by one of the horses on the scene.
Another, similar celebration began to grow in Pacoima around 8 p.m., resulting in ten people being detained by the LAPD.
Fans were running around the intersection, waving flags as a number of helicopters hovered overhead.
The crowd began shooting off large fireworks into the air just before 10 p.m.
The Terra Bella street, Osbourne street, and Van Nuys boulevard off ramps from the southbound I-5 freeway had been closed, according to LAPD.
The group was officially ordered to disburse shortly after 10:30 p.m. The group disbursed at about 10:40 p.m, and traffic began flowing through the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Van Nuys boulevard shortly after.