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Anti-Trump protesters rally in downtown LA as part of nationwide demonstrations

James Queally, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

LOS ANGELES -- Dozens of protesters took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, nearly one year after the election of Donald Trump as president spurred massive demonstrations across the U.S.

The group Refuse Fascism called for protests against the Trump administration in several major cities on Saturday, including Los Angeles.

Protesters, many of whom wore shirts that either simply said "NO!" or "Black Lives Matter," began filling Pershing Square around 12:30 p.m. in advance of the expected rally.

Perry Hoberman, an associate research professor at the University of Southern California, is among the event's organizers. He said the date of the march was chosen in part to coincide with the anniversary of Trump's Nov. 8, 2016, election victory in the hope that it would energize others to stand up to what he sees as the administration's racist and divisive policies.

"There's clearly this process of fatigue and normalization," he said. "On the one hand, you almost get used to what they are doing."

About two dozen Trump supporters near 5th and Hill streets voiced support for the far-right media outlet InfoWars and opposition to communism while waving American flags. Police established a line between the rival groups.

"You're on the side of evil," yelled one Trump supporter holding a bullhorn. "We are on the side of good."

Only one arrest had been made as of 2 p.m., authorities said. An anti-Trump demonstrator was seen being led away in handcuffs after he tried to go around a police skirmish line while screaming about fighting the president's supporters.

The groups were largely reduced to screaming at one another across 5th street, separated by a large contingent of officers and yellow tape. Some of the Trump supporters screamed "Brown supremacists" at their rivals and a few could be seen arguing with pedestrians as the anti-Trump crowd prepared to march.

Police shut down Hill Street between 5th and 6th streets, where demonstrators set up stands to pass out literature and a stage was erected for speakers to address the rally. The group was then expected to begin marching through downtown at 2 p.m. The route the march would take was unclear.

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