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Thirty-three demonstrators who were arrested after blocking intersections during separate protests over the last four months against Arizona’s immigration law are facing misdemeanor charges.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed the charges Tuesday, which include one count of remaining at an unlawful assembly; one count of resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer; and one count of blocking the sidewalk or street. The maximum penalties for remaining at an unlawful assembly and obstructing an officer are one year in Los Angeles County jail and a $1,000 fine, while blocking an intersection carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine. Genaro Batiste, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, said arraignments for the defendants are scheduled on September 22 and 23.
The defendants who were charged were involved in protests on May 6 in downtown Los Angeles; May 20 in Westwood; and July 29 at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue. In the first incident, eight women and six men protested outside of the Federal Building on Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles. The arrests were made after protestors blocked traffic by lying in the street with their hands locked together. The May 20 incident occurred in front of the West Los Angeles Federal Building, and also involved demonstrators who locked themselves together, as did the incident at Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue. In the last incident, the protestors informed officers they would not disperse and wanted to be arrested. Police used saws to cut the locking devices, and the 11 demonstrators who were taken into custody had to be physically carried to police vehicles, according to Batiste.
“Because they used this locking device, the police had to use special tools, which caused traffic delays for hours,” Batiste added. “There were considerable disruptions at each of these protests, which is why we felt the criminal charges were necessary.”
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