LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Several homeless people took a stand Friday against Los Angeles city officials attempting to clear their encampment in Echo Park.
A sweep that Los Angeles police said was a scheduled cleanup turned into a confrontation with park rangers and crews at Echo Park Lake.
Holding up signs that said, “Housing is a Human Right,” several people knelt down in front of park rangers chanting, “Services, not sweeps! Services, not sweeps!” An LAPD officer was seen explaining that Friday’s sweep was a scheduled cleanup.
Ayman Ahmed, who spoke to the crowd, said he lives in Echo Park because it’s the cleanest and safest he’s found.
“Everybody’s about a paycheck or two away from this for the most part. Sixty-five thousand homeless, growing and growing – you can’t go more than a block without seeing an encampment,” he said.
A letter has been sent to Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, asking him to find a way to let them stay at the park overnight as long as they promise to keep it clean and not be a nuisance to visitors.
“But for right now, a short-term win is to end these sweeps. These do nothing but displace us and harass us and mess up our lives,” Ahmed said. “How can I get a job when every other day I got to deal with the police?”
No arrests were made, and it’s not clear whether another attempt will be made to clear the encampments at Echo Park lake.