Photos: Trayvon Martin Protesters, Police Face Off On Hollywood Boulevard [UPDATED]
Police in riot gear shut down Hollywood Boulevard late Sunday night to prevent protesters from taking over the street.
About 100 protesters marched up La Brea Avenue around 10 p.m. and were met with a strong, visible police presence at Hollywood. The protesters waved signs and chanted "Justice for Trayvon" at the Hollywood and Highland Avenue intersection, where a line of police in riot gear blocked them.
The protest—one of dozens happening across the country after Saturday's "Not Guilty" verdict in the George Zimmerman trial in Florida— was a peaceful one, although the L.A. Times reports that one person was arrested.
Hollywood Boulevard, which was shut down to traffic from Sycamore Avenue to Highland Avenue, was lined with about 30 squad cars and dozens of officers, many in riot gear.
Tourists were still allowed to cross at the usual pedestrian crosswalks, including Hollywood and Orange. Up the street, visitors were still taking pictures in front of Chuck Norris's star and the sightseers outnumbered the protesters, with many seeing the protest as just another photo op while on the famous street.
One man in an Abercrombie T-shirt had his female friend take a picture of him grinning widely in front of the line of helmeted officers. Another man, who said he'd taken part in Occupy L.A., didn't join the chanting or take photos, but said he was "sympathetic" to the protester's cause.
Overhead at least four police helicopters patrolled the neighborhood and police, many ready with plastic handcuffs, were arrayed at nearby intersections. By 11 p.m., most of the protesters had moved on, with their numbers dwindling, ABC 7 reported. Traffic was rerouted to Sunset Boulevard.
Earlier in the day, dozens of protesters marched along Crenshaw Boulevard toward the 10 Freeway, managing to temporarily shut down the freeway for about 15 minutes. That prompted the LAPD to call a citywide tactical alert.
Yesterday, protesters temporarily closed down Metro.
The protests in L.A. have mostly been peaceful ones, but LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith told the Times that some demonstrators threw rocks and D-cell batteries at police near the corner of Washington Boulevard and 10th Avenue. Police responded by firing bean bags at the crowd and arresting at least one person.
UPDATE, JULY 15, 10:16 A.M. ABC7 reports that protesters stormed The W Hotel at Argyle Avenue before making their way to the CNN building late Sunday night in Hollywood. The W Hotel sustained minor damage, and at least five people were arrested. There is no official number yet on total arrests. (eds. note: The W Hotel disputed LAPD and media reports that protestors entered the hotel and broke glass.)
By 1 a.m., the tactical alert had been canceled, with only the south and west bureaus remaining on modified tactical alert.
Demonstrators were mostly non-violent but appeared to get more aggressive as the day went on. Police reported some protesters throwing rocks and bottles.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti posted a call for nonviolence Twitter Sunday night:
"'Nonviolence is a powerful& just weapon. It is a sword that heals-MLK.' Exercise 1st Amendment and practice peace in City of Angels tonight."
Another protest is planned today at Leimert Park at 6 p.m. The protest is organized by project Islamic Hope.