Protesters, Police Butt Heads at Abortion Rights Rally


Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS)- Police and abortion rights supporters squared off in downtown Los Angeles in clashes where one officer was injured, police said today.

About 250 abortion rights supporters marched Tuesday night from outside the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles to Pershing Square in response to a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that showed at least five justices willing to overturn the landmark 1973 court decision Roe v. Wade.

A 15-year-old girl told the crowd, ``I'm a freshman in high school. I should be at home doing homework but I'm here fighting for my rights because this may be my last chance.''

Even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion would remain legal in California.

After pausing at Pershing Square, demonstrators resumed their march through downtown. Video taken at the scene showed periodic skirmishes between law enforcement and participants throughout the hours-long protest.

People in the crowd began to throw rocks and bottles at police, LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore tweeted shortly after 9 p.m.

``We attempted to communicate, clear and provide dispersal order to the group,'' Moore tweeted.

On multiple occasions, officers from the LAPD and Department of Homeland Security faced off with agitated protesters, who shouted at them, attempted to impede arriving law enforcement vehicles and take over an intersection.

One DHS vehicle had its back window smashed.

LAPD issued a citywide tactical alert at approximately 9:30 p.m. Tuesday as the crowds grew larger.

LAPD Capt. Issac Ruiz, the incident commander at the protests, said no arrests were made.

The injured officer ``was attacked by a group of agitators and struck in the head but he's doing OK,'' Ruiz told reporters.

Ruiz said the tactical alert was issued to ensure that the department ``had enough resources to deal with the situations that was unfolding here in downtown LA.''

``For the most part, we had a lot of cooperation from all the groups but unfortunately there was a group of instigators who embedded themselves with the group of peaceful protesters and caused some of the problems,'' Ruiz said.

Some protesters were knocked to the ground by officers who tried to hold back the at-times agitated crowd as the night went on.

Footage from the scene shows police tackling and handcuffing a man after a fierce confrontation. One officer swung his baton several times in an effort to hold the crowd back.

Asked if he thought the shoving and baton strikes by some officers was an adequate response, Ruiz said, ``I have not seen any video footage so I cannot comment on that.''

LAPD officers often found themselves retreating to barricades behind their vehicles, shouting ``Back up! Back up!'' repeatedly at the protesters.

The tactical alert was deactivated at around 10:40 p.m., LAPD Officer Drake Madison told City News Service.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content