Los Angeles police officers clashed with homeless people and activists while trying to shut down a large encampment that some claim has the support of the local community.
The LAPD issued a citywide tactical alert on Wednesday over the altercations at Echo Park Lake, about three miles north of downtown Los Angeles, where hundreds of homeless people have encamped for more than a year.
The tents have transformed into a makeshift communal society with a pantry and garden, but homeowners have fumed on YouTube and other social media platforms that the encampment has brought crime and unsafe conditions. An online petition from nearby residents demanded that the city remove the camp and received more than 4,000 signatures.
On Wednesday the police tried to close the park and remove the encampment but they were attacked by the homeless and their activist supporters. Police said they threw bottles and rocks at the officers.
"The Los Angeles Police Department was asked to support community safety efforts during installation of the fencing to assist in the rehabilitation of Echo Park," said a statement from Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, whose district includes the park.
"Department personnel are deployed in that area so that those efforts can begin in a safe and unimpeded manner," he added. "Our homeless service providers will return tomorrow morning to continue their work with the park's unhoused residents to offer shelter and services to anyone who wants and needs the assistance."
Activists excoriated O'Farrell on social media and blamed him for what they called an immoral effort to "gentrify" the neighborhood.
🚨ALERT: Multiple sources confirm @MitchOFarrell is planning to have police displace the entire unhoused community a… https://t.co/D4fhJcQQyO— Street Watch LA (@Street Watch LA) 1616427039.0
"Multiple sources confirm @MitchOFarrell is planning to have police displace the entire unhoused community at echo park lake this Wednesday, and put up fences to close the entire park by Thursday. Please share + come support the community this Wednesday," read a tweet from StreetWatch L.A., a homeless advocacy group organized by the socialist party.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the action by the police was countered by over 200 protesters demanding that they let the encampment exist.
A notice by the police notified the public that any personal property left in the park by 10:30 p.m. on Thursday would be removed by the city. In response, StreetWatch L.A. called for more protests to stop the police action on Thursday.
Here's a local report about the echo park altercation:
Crackdown at Echo Park homeless encampment begins as LAPD moves in, clashes with protesters www.youtube.com