Streets reopen after protest snarls LAX get-away traffic
Road closures from a workers' rights protest Wednesday afternoon near LAX have all been lifted, authorities said, and traffic into the airport has returned to normal -- or as normal as traffic can be the day before Thanksgiving.
The roughly 1,000 protesters, mostly union members, marched down Century Boulevard toward LAX about 12:15 p.m. to demand better pay and benefits from airport-related employers. Organized by the Service Employees International Union-USWW, the activists decried at least one LAX-related contractor and called for the removal of Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.
After marching down Century Boulevard, the activists took over the road's busy intersection with Sepulveda Boulevard, after their permit had expired, and a dozen activists sat down in an act of civil disobedience that led to their arrests.
In all, a dozen people were arrested for failing to disperse and will be charged with a misdemeanor and then probably released on their own recognizance, said Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith. At least two of those arrested are City Council candidates: Ana Grande, running for the 13th District seat, and Ana Cubas, a 9th District candidate.
Smith said that an additional person was arrested for interfering with an officer who was trying to disperse the larger crowd and that the man "kept pushing back, pushing back against our officers."
The rest of the crowd backed away and dispersed without incident, Smith said.
The road closures snarled traffic and delayed holiday travelers. Smith said all roads and entrances to LAX were open by 2 p.m.
Airport officials issued a warning earlier this week to travelers regarding the protest and nearby road closures, and advising those who had flights between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to arrive an hour and a half ahead of their normal schedule.
-- Ari Bloomekatz
Photo: Protesters outside LAX. Credit: Al Seib/LA Times.