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Anaheim protesters throw rocks, bottles, set fires in clashes with police

July 25, 2012 |  4:51 am

Police put out a fire in Anaheim

Anaheim was shaken by violent clashes between protesters and police Tuesday night amid demonstrations over officer-involved shootings.

Parts of downtown Anaheim saw hours of unrest, with some protesters setting fire to trash cans and other objects.

Anaheim Police Chief John Welter decried the violence.

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.

At Santa Ana Street and Anaheim Boulevard, people grabbed rocks from a construction site and hurled them at officers. Others lighted a fire in the weeds and in trash bins in the area as they were chased by police. 

Other officers farther south on Santa Ana Street fired bean bags at protesters on the fourth day of protests following the deadly police shootings of two men over the weekend. 

The slayings have sparked outrage about police behavior in Anaheim's Latino neighborhoods. So far this year, five people have been shot to death by police in the city.

Officers and protesters were clashing after people stormed a City Council meeting Tuesday evening. City officials were discussing the shootings, and the council voted to ask the U.S. attorney's office to investigate.

Anaheim police Sgt. Robert Dunn said that at least five people had been arrested. He said the city requested countywide mutual aid and a tactical alert. “An order to disperse has been given," Dunn said.  The sergeant said officers and an Orange County Register reporter were hit by rocks.

Marco Chavez, 17, said he was almost hit with a bean bag pellet Tuesday night. He picked up the pellets "for souvenirs."

Chavez, an Anaheim resident, said he came out because he believes the police have been "unfair." 

"They are illegally gang-banging on civilians," he said.

George Alvarado, 29, said he came out to support the cause and was shot in the head. He said he didn't realized it until a friend pointed out the blood. "Yeah, it was the heat of the moment," he said of the wound.

He said of Anaheim police: "What they are doing is wrong."


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-- Ruben Vives and Nicole Santa Cruz in Anaheim and Richard Winton and Robert J. Lopez in Los Angeles