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'Anonymous' group targets Anaheim over police shootings

As Anaheim became a protest battleground and police officers and protesters clashed for the fourth day in a row, the group Anonymous took to the Web to declare it was embarking on "Operation Anaheim."

The posting came Tuesday night, when 24 people were arrested, 20 businesses damaged and six people injured during violent clashes in and around City Hall.

In a YouTube video, the group said authorities there had shot protesters -- it did not mention that the munitions were pepper balls and bean bags. The video features the mask from the movie "V for Vendetta," which has featured prominently in Occupy protests, and an ominous voice calling for the "citizens of United States to rise up in unison."

PHOTOS: Protests against Anaheim police shootings

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and Police Chief John Welter said outsiders were a key part of Tuesday night's violence and vandalism.

Responding to the threat, Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said, "It concerns me that people would be coming to the city of Anaheim to protest something that they don’t have a vested interest in. We want to have a relationship with our community."

Dunn said police are investigating threats on officers via email and phone. Dunn said the threats were anonymous and declined to give more detail or specify the number of threats.

Police said they will be reviewing video footage from Tuesday night's protests to arrest those who engaged in illegal activity.

Welter said the crowd grew to more than 1,000 at times on Tuesday night. Protests were allowed to continue, he said, until the violence escalated and became threatening to police and others in the area.

Police arrested 24 people and said that 20 businesses were damaged during the night's mayhem.

"We will not allow riotous, dangerous violations of the law by anyone," Welter said.

ALSO:

L.A. ban on pot dispensaries greeted with anger, support

Video shows killer whale attacking trainer at Sea World San Diego

Anaheim mob damages businesses, sets fires after police shootings

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Anaheim and Richard Winton in Los Angeles

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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