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33 charged with blocking L.A. city streets during immigration protests

The charges include unlawful assembly, resisting arrest, delaying or obstructing an officer and blocking a sidewalk or street.

September 08, 2010|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles prosecutors have charged 33 immigrants' rights activists with a variety of misdemeanor crimes related to three protests beginning in May that blocked city streets.

Among the charges are remaining at an unlawful assembly, resisting arrest, delaying or obstructing an officer and blocking a sidewalk or street.

Conviction on a charge of resisting arrest would result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Those charged with unlawful assembly face up to six months in jail if found guilty, a spokesman for the city attorney's office said.

In the first incident on May 6, eight women and six men participated in a protest against Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law by blocking an intersection near the federal courthouse on Alameda Street in downtown L.A. They locked their hands together inside tubular devices.

Prosecutors said it took officers several hours to remove the protesters.

Later in May, California Highway Patrol officers arrested nine immigration protesters in front of the federal building in Westwood. The suspects sat in the street, locking their hands together, and caused a massive traffic jam for several blocks.

On July 29, protesters blocked the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue by putting their hands together in a locking device and refusing to move.

Officers had to carry the demonstrators out of the street and needed special equipment to remove the elaborate tube and chain locking systems that connected the protesters' arms.

Those charged in the protests are scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 22.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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