Photos: Downtown Immigration Demonstration Leads to 14 Arrests
Fourteen demonstrators protesting Arizona's new immigration law were arrested outside a federal detention center in downtown this afternoon. The group, said to be from We Are All Arizona, set out to get their message across by intentionally blocking the street and getting arrested.
At 10 a.m., they began to protest, chaining themselves together with handcuffs that were covered in tubing. Fourteen of them laid down in the middle of Alameda Street outside the federal Metropolitan Detention Center.
"This is a scripted demonstration, they just want to get their message across," explained Officer Bruce Borihanh, a LAPD spokesperson. "We let them speak their voice, get their message across. Then we gave a lawful order to disperse because they are blocking traffic, it's a public safety hazard."
Clad in bright neon baseball caps, legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild aided the demonstrators with their presence and negotiations with police.
"What you're seeing here is an act of civil disobedience where 14 people decided to use their moral authority to challenge unjust laws like the law that went down in Arizona," said Nelson Motto, who spoke on behalf of the group, which he identified as a number of human beings, not a group with any affiliation. "This is just the beginning of many actions that are going to be happening -- not just throughout the city, but throughot the country."
Police slowly arrested each chained individual by using an angle grinder to cut the tubes and handcuffs. Every time one was released and walked to a police bus, protesters on the sidewalk cheered and continued to sing and keep the atmosphere positive. "It's been very peaceful," said Borihanh. "We're just here for public safety and everyone's been very cooperative."