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Protest by homeless activists stops L.A. City Council meeting

September 29, 2009 | 12:54 pm

Skidrow

Activists for the homeless and indigent residents of Skid Row briefly shut down a Los Angeles City Council meeting today, shouting from the audience their frustration that the meeting was moving so slowly.

Council members had been discussing whether to continue the hiring of new police officers when a group organized by the Los Angeles Community Action Network began shouting “Public Comment Now” -- a reference to the fact that the council was taking more than 90 minutes to get to the public comment portion of the agenda.

The group came to City Hall to speak about their opposition to the Safer Cities initiative, which has resulted in the deployment of dozens of officers to Skid Row. The shouting drowned out remarks by Council President Eric Garcetti, who warned group members that they would be removed by police if they continued to shout and heckle other speakers.

Council members awkwardly sat in their seats as the protester held upside-down American flags and chanted “Shame on You.” Behind the council chamber, a dozen officers gathered in the hallway but did not emerge.

After roughly 10 minutes, the meeting resumed. At around noon, activists from the group began testifying on Safer Cities, saying that the program had resulted in the harassment of Skid Row residents and an exodus of homeless residents out of the area.

-- David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall

Photo: LAPD officers try to keep order as activists for the homeless and indigent residents of Skid Row briefly halt a Los Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben  / Los Angeles Times

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