LAPD braces for Prop. 8 protest in West L.A., vows to be prepared*
More than 3,000 protesters marched near the landmark Los Angeles California Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood today to protest the church's strong support for Proposition 8. Santa Monica Boulevard is closed and nearby traffic is gridlocked.
Opponents of Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California, were waving banners and chanting. A similar protests occurred on Wednesday night in Hollywood and West Hollywood.
Los Angeles Police Department officials say they won't be caught off-guard as they were last night, when they were required to call a tactical alert after a few members of the mostly peaceful crowd got out of hand. The protest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. off Santa Monica Boulevard.
In the wake of the passage of the state proposition banning gay marriage, Wednesday night saw thousands protest in West Hollywood and Hollywood, forcing police to shut down some streets and the LAPD to call a citywide tactical alert that required officers from one watch to stay on duty during the next watch.
At least seven people were arrested, four at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, where one man jumped on top of a police car. Television cameras captured one protester struggling with officers and being struck on the legs by batons.
The Mormon temple is apparently being targeted because of church members' funding and support of the proposition.
* Update: Another protest is planned for later this afternoon in West Hollywood near the Pacific Design Center. The MTA says streets will be closed and buses rerouted. Details from the MTA statement:
Metro has received word that there will be additional Prop. 8 demonstrations this afternoon and evening and [L.A. County Sheriff's Department] will be closing San Vicente from Melrose to Santa Monica Boulevard starting at 4 p.m. until the streets are cleared, which could go into the late evening. There will be no traffic including buses allowed to go north on San Vicente. During this time, Metro will need to reroute buses to Robertson to go north and then east on Santa Monica Blvd.
**Update 2: Metro corrected their earlier statement, saying the Sheriff's Department currently has "no formal plan to close San Vicente Boulevard between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue this evening."
-- Richard Winton and Rong-Gong Lin II
Photo credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times