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At least 13 arrested in L.A. May Day protests

May 2, 2012 |  7:10 am


At least 13 people were arrested in May Day rallies in Los Angeles that snarled traffic and seemed to draw more police officers than protesters at times, authorities said Wednesday.

About 1,000 people participated in the rallies, which began with marches at various locations in the city and converged in downtown Los Angeles. Of the 13 arrested, 10 were demonstrators at Los Angeles International Airport who were protesting working conditions there, and three were downtown, according to KTLA-TV.

Protesters, many of them concealing their faces with bandannas, and Los Angeles Police Department officers clad in riot gear engaged in a running game of cat and mouse, as the crowd tried in vain to make its way around police blockades to City Hall and police headquarters.

PHOTOS: May Day protest

At dusk, a few hundred people regrouped several blocks south in Pershing Square for a meeting as police cruisers and a helicopter circled. The protesters had a city-issued permit to gather until 10 p.m.

Late Tuesday, the LAPD declared a citywide tactical alert, which allows the department to keep officers on duty past the end of their shift. Authorities would not say when they planned to disperse the crowd, but did say they would not allow the protest to continue all night.

By 10:30 p.m., most of the protesters had left Pershing Square.

Nancy Evans, 62, of Venice said she came downtown to bring attention to the need to create jobs. A former animator who grew angry watching jobs being outsourced to other countries, she stood at 6th Street and Broadway with a contingent of Occupy protesters.

"I can see why people think this is very fragmented," she said of the protests. "I thought there would be more of a focus on jobs."

Skirmishes similar to the ones in Los Angeles played out in the Bay Area as well. In San Francisco, a demonstration that started peacefully late Monday in Dolores Park ended with widespread vandalism as more than 100 masked protesters — dressed in black and gray and wielding crowbars and paintball guns — descended on a busy restaurant and retail stretch in the city's Mission district.

Vandals smashed windows, defaced cars and even attacked the neighborhood police station. In advance of a threatened strike by union workers, ferry service in the Bay Area was shut down for the Tuesday morning commute.

In Oakland, police used tear gas and arrested at least nine people for failing to disperse and violating stay-away orders issued by a judge.

The clashes were in stark contrast to what many demonstrators said they sought to bring about by protesting: more rights for all people, peace and income equality, among other causes.

"I want to see a world where there is a whole different value system, where we actually put people before profits," said Oakland protester Shaina Burnette, 31. "I would beg people who care about the future: It's a movement, and you have to show up."


May Day protests: LAPD issues tactical alert

Police put on riot gear as May Day protests converge

May Day protests: Demonstrators calm after clash with police

-- Rosanna Xia, Paloma Esquivel and Kate Linthicum