LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A protest against President Donald Trump drew a smaller-but-vocal group of counter-demonstrators in downtown Los Angeles Saturday, with the two groups of shouting opponents kept apart by a large police presence.
The group Refuse Fascism started the demonstration at Pershing Square at 1 p.m. Saturday as part of an organized effort in 19 cities across the United States. Officials with the group said they had received threats of violence from “alt-right” and white supremacist groups ahead of the rallies.
The crowd numbered around 2,000 people as of 1 p.m., with roughly 80 percent in the anti-Trump camp.
One protester was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department for repeated attempts to broach the makeshift barricades set up by police to keep the groups separated. The man told police he was ready to fight anyone on either side.
Water bottles were also observed being thrown by some anti-Trump protesters.
Police were armed with a new city ordinance limiting what people can bring to such assemblies.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council 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, Virginia.
“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 before the rally.
The LAPD also cautioned the public to expect traffic delays and street closures in the march area, including the closure of Hill Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.
CBS2’s Greg Mills spoke to people on both sides of the rally.
“We’re really angry and scared,” said Hillary Crowe, a mother of two. “What’s really scary is seeing people here espousing such hate.”
She added it was important for her to attend the rally because of her children.
“I know one day my kids are going to ask where were you and this is where I was. It’s really hard.”
Many said the president worried them.
“Yeah, he worries me,” said Ruby Avila, “I stay up at night wondering what’s he going to do tomorrow? Are we going to war tomorrow?”
To a man and woman, the anti-Trump side said they want him impeached.
His fans think that is far from happening.
“Ridiculous,” said Greg Susca, “Not going to happen.”
The protesters on both sides yelled insults back and forth at each other.
But one woman, Lauren Evans, was just taking it all in.
“I think it’s just amazing that they can come out and have their point of view. I think that’s a beautiful thing.”
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