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Several arrested as Lakers fans get rowdy

June 15, 2009|Ari Bloomekatz and Ruben Vives

Police in riot gear dispersed thousands of revelers in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday night as some celebrating the Lakers' championship attempted to overturn police cars, pulled up trees and set fire to trash cans.

Although the crowds were generally well-behaved, unruly celebrants at LA Live and the Staples Center set small bonfires and pelted police with rocks. Police called a citywide tactical alert at 8:30 p.m. and dozens of additional units were called to the area.

Thirty minutes later, the Los Angeles Police Department declared the partying an unlawful assembly and ordered crowds to disperse. Vandals trashed an MTA bus, smashing its windows and spray-painting it. A crowd of 50 to 60 people broke a door at a gas station at Olympic Boulevard and Grand Avenue and looted the market. Most fled when police arrived, said cashier Cecilio Jimenz.

Hundreds of basketball fans also turned out in East L.A.

Law enforcement officials said they had been prepared for trouble, determined not to allow a repeat of the rioting that accompanied the Lakers' 2000 championship.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

ruben.vives@latimes.com

Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein and Julie Cart contributed to this report.

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