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Anaheim police chief decries violence, backs officers

July 24, 2012 |  9:47 pm

More photos: Protest against Anaheim police shootings

Anaheim's police chief on Tuesday decried the unrest and violence on the streets of the city's downtown, saying his officers had shown "great restraint" amid angry protests.

Scores of demonstrators converged on City Hall to protest a fatal officer-involved shooting Saturday.

Chief John Welter said that officers had rocks and bottles thrown at them. Officers responded with nonlethal rounds.

Photos: Protest against Anaheim police shootings

"I respect the people's right to demonstrate, but I wish that they weren't demonstrating in a violent manner," Welter said.

He added that some in the crowd did not appear to be residents of Anaheim. "This concerns me greatly."

Shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, law enforcement officers in Anaheim issued a dispersal order to protesters at the intersection of Anaheim and Broadway.

One officer used a megaphone to declare an unlawful assembly and shouted to demonstrators to leave the area: "You must disperse ... if you do not, you will be arrested."

At least two arrests have been made, authorities said, and an Orange County Register reporter was injured by a thrown rock.

Just after 9 p.m., authorities fired nonlethal projectiles into the crowd, scattering many of the demonstrators.

The crowd quickly moved toward a corner gas station, where people pounded on pumps as others chanted "Si se puede." Some set off firecrackers in the lot as people ran away. At one point a black police truck was struck by an object.

RELATED:

Anaheim chief 'very concerned' about uptick in police shootings

Activists to "lay siege" on Anaheim City Hall after police killings

Latino leaders say Anaheim a 'powder keg' after police shootings

-- Nicole Santa Cruz, Christine Mai-Duc and Ruben Vives in Anaheim

Photo: George Alvarado said he was hit by a police nonlethal round during the protest. Credit: Ruben Vives/L.A. Times

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