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Black Lives Matter Protesters Spent Christmas Eve Alone In Jail Cells, Attorney Says

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An attorney for Black Lives Matter L.A. says protesters spent Christmas Eve alone in cells at an L.A. County Jail in Inglewood after their December 23 demonstration shut down the 405 Freeway. Black Lives Matter activists hosted a series of protests throughout the country shortly before Christmas. Here in Los Angeles, activists managed to shut down a portion of the 405 Freeway in Westchester with their demonstrations on the afternoon of December 23.

Activist Melina Abdullah told LA Weekly that nine Los Angeles protesters were arrested and held in a county jail in Inglewood for nearly three days. She said they were put in cells by themselves.

"I had no cellmate. I wasn't given paper, a pencil, nothing. Just a blanket and a pad. I wasn't able to make a phone call for 24 hours," she said.

Abdullah was able to find someone to care for her children while she was in jail, but did not anticipate being unable to contact loved ones for so long. Her bail was posted on Christmas Day by Black Lives Matter.

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Nana Gyamfi, Black Lives Matter L.A.'s lawyer, told LA Weekly that the protesters were all placed in solitary confinement, and that the men who had been arrested were handcuffed and had their legs shackled. She believes the reason the protesters was arrested was to "intimidate" and "bully" them.

No one has been formally charged, according to Gyamfi, and all are now out on bail. Gyamfi said vandalizing a freeway is a felony, but that the activists used chalk spray paint to write the names of black people killed by police in L.A. County in 2015. Simply shutting down a freeway is not a felony. Earlier reports indicated the nine protesters would be charged with vandalism, blocking the freeway and conspiracy to commit those acts.

In a press release prior to the protest, Black Lives Matter L.A. said that their reason for the protest was that, "On one of the busiest travel days of the year, Black Lives Matter is calling for a halt on Christmas as usual in memorial of all of the loved ones we have lost and continue to lose this year to law enforcement violence without justice or recourse."

Abdullah took to Twitter asking supporters to call the L.A. County District Attorney and ask for no charges.

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