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Section Of 405 Freeway Shut Down By Black Lives Matter Activists

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Black Lives Matter protestors briefly shut down a portion of the 405 Freeway in Westchester this afternoon.

The L.A. Times reports a group of activists carried a banner onto the southbound side of the freeway and began chalking messages shortly before 1:30 p.m., and shut down the 405 for about 10 to 15 minutes. According to CBS L.A., those involved in the protest were moved onto the right shoulder of the freeway, and tow trucks were called to remove their cars. ABC-7 reports all the protesters, which included four women, three men and two male juveniles, were arrested by Culver City CHP officers.

A press release from 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."

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The release also detailed a list of demands:

1) Fire Chief Beck for his refusal to hold LAPD officers accountable.
2) Work in partnership with the Los Angeles City Council to develop a reparations strategy.
3) Hold Police Commission meetings that are open, accessible, and at a time when working people can attend.
4) Appoint real community advocates to key commission seats.
5) Adhere to the agreed Town Hall meeting structure with Black community negotiated in July 2015.

The Times reports that Wednesday was organized as "Black Xmas" by Black Lives Matter activists, which also saw protests at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Pete White, an organizer with Black Lives Matter and the L.A. Community Action Network, told the Times today's protest in L.A. was also partially motivated by the county's decision not to charge a CHP officer who repeatedly punched Marlene Pinnock, a black woman who was wandering along the 10 freeway.

As White told KPCC, "In this Christmas season, we're saying there is no mistletoe in our neighborhood, and it's not going to be business as usual."

L.A. Weekly declared 'The Women of Black Lives Matter' as the second-most important person in Los Angeles of 2015, right behind USC professor Stacy Smith.