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Pics/Videos: LAPD arrests dozens during Election Day protests

A protester tosses a bottled water on a California Highway Patrol vehicle as other Black Lives Matter protesters swarm the car during a rally in front of LAPD headquarters to protest the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, on May 28, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
November 04, 2020

Around 40 people were arrested on Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles as tensions continue to rise in the Southern California city in the midst of Election Day confusion.

Fox News reported that the Los Angeles Police Department declared an unlawful assembly after a group of people blocked train tracks in the city. Those who were arrested failed to disperse following the declaration.

“Obviously we have a lot of police presence out here due to the election, we’re prepared for anything that might come about and we’re able to respond right away,” said Los Angeles Police Officer Mike Lopez.

Roughly 30 of those arrested were cited for blocking an intersection prior to being released, police said.

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As the election approached Tuesday morning, the LAPD called a “citywide tactical alert.” Later that same day, around 8:15 p.m., Los Angeles police identified a “large and unruly crowd” before declaring it an unlawful assembly.

According to Fox News, riot gear-clad police officers stared down dozens of demonstrators as they marched towards the Staples Center before making their way to a light-rail station nearby.

Officers declared another gathering near South Figueroa and West 18th streets unlawful around 9:30 p.m. The area was immediately closed down and people nearby were ordered to leave.

“They were running around downtown causing trouble,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Vito Palazzolo, the Los Angeles Times reported. “We gave them every opportunity to disperse and they chose to remain, so we made the decision to make arrests.”

Among those attending the gathering was Bruce Harper, 52, who told the Los Angeles Times that he wanted to take “part in the excitement” of Election Day. He was surprised by the unlawful assembly declaration, asserting that the gathering was peaceful.

“I’m really surprised with what happened at the end,” Harper said. “This was a peaceful gathering. We’ve been here for hours and nothing bad was happening.”

Also on Tuesday, the LAPD added laser pointers or laser-style devices to the list of banned items for anyone attending or participating in demonstrations. Violators of the new addition will be charged with a misdemeanor.