LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With Monday night’s disruptive rallies after Mexico’s early round 3-1 World Cup win over Croatia fresh in the minds of law enforcement, authorities are preparing for Sunday, when Mexico will take on the Netherlands.
Major intersections in Huntington Park and Pacoima were the settings of equally major rallies on Monday evening, as fans of the Mexican national team congregated to celebrate the victory. As numbers grew, fans waving Mexican flags and even shooting off fireworks spilled into the streets, causing major traffic disruptions.
A number of fans were seen stopping and rocking cars and trucks as they attempted to pass.
The celebrations resulted in five arrests, including one fan who was arrested after a bottle was thrown at police, who had arrived to restore order at the intersections.
In Huntington Park, mounted police forced the main gathering of fans to move west, until they finally disbursed.
In the evening hours, LAPD on citywide tactical alert declared an unlawful assembly and ordered a large crowd in Pacoima to disburse. The celebration dissipated shortly after.
Authorities on Tuesday said they are taking no chances for Sunday’s Round of 16 match, increasing staff Sunday morning and preparing for a repeat of Monday’s rallies.
“The plan right now is to have the hundreds of officers that we have deployed every Sunday out there, paying attention to what’s going on, and to move them around to the different areas as we need them, based on what’s going on,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.
For a number of local businesses affected by the rallies, however, that preparation comes a little too late. Some businesses say that due to the large number of celebrators, customers avoided areas of Pacific Avenue.
“Well, technically, when it’s a really hot day, we make between six-to-eight hundred (dollars),” Yogurt City manager Johan Lancheros said. “And technically, we only made two (hundred) and fifty yesterday. So, it was a big hit for us.”
Fans in Pacoima, meanwhile, gave police worries of their own. The fans shot illegal fireworks into the air from the middle of a busy intersection (Laurel Canyon Boulevard at Van Nuys Boulevard), before LAPD advanced from modified tactical alert to citywide tactical alert.
While no arrests were made in the Pacoima rallies, 10 people were detained and a number of citations were issued by police.
Another business owner says that while he witnessed someone throwing a bottle, he did not mind the rallies and never feared for his safety.
“For us, it was pretty cool, because all we saw was a celebration of some Hispanic people, and everything was peaceful,” Joel Izaguirre said.
Not every business shares Izaguirre’s sentiments, however.
“It’s OK to celebrate it, but it went to an extreme,” Lancheros said. “They really got crazy.”