LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Advocates for homeless residents in the city of Los Angeles placed a bulldozer across from Getty House, where L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s lives, on Saturday morning to protest citywide encampment sweeps.
The protesters dressed up like clowns in a demonstration that was aimed at preventing the city’s sanitation team from targeting people living in homeless encampments throughout L.A.
The satirical sign, “A Clowncil’s Solution to Homelessness” was draped across the bulldozer, as participants urged city leaders to provide more resources to people experiencing homelessness rather than getting rid of their makeshift shelters.
Activists argued that the city’s sanitation department-led sweeps, which often include the use of bulldozers to clear away tents, are inhumane.
City leaders, like Garcetti and councilmembers, continue to be urged by residents to address encampments throughout L.A., citing health and safety concerns.
People advocating for Angelenos experiencing homelessness say these sweeps of encampments can be detrimental because it forces people out of their makeshift shelters and can lead to the loss of important possessions and documents.
“All they’re doing is displacing us. I’ve lost everything from my birth certificate to my military ID because they’re just trying to displace me every week now,” said La Donna Harrell.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said in guidance about coronavirus and the homeless population that “clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.”
The CDC also recommended that local health and city departments encourage physical distancing among people experiencing homelessness, improve sanitation in encampments, and ensure nearby bathrooms are stocked and operating properly.
Activists at the demonstration on Saturday also gave out food and hygiene supplies to people in need.
In L.A. County alone, officials counted 58,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night.
Read more about the county’s homelessness initiative here.