LOS ANGELES — They rattled and swayed the wire fence installed to separate them from the world’s most powerful man.
Faced with the barrier, the 1,200-1,500 pro-Palestinian protesters who gathered Friday at Holmby Park shouted louder — calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and an end to U.S. financial and military aid to Israel.
They charged President Joe Biden and others attending the heavyweight fundraiser across the street with supporting Palestinian “genocide,” and chanted against Israel, the Israel Defense Forces and the Los Angeles Police Department.
Some protesters carried signs that read, “End all U.S. aid to Israel,” “America, don’t let your tax $ fund killing babies” and “come November we’ll remember.” They wore clothing symbolizing their cause, including the black-and-white keffiyeh; and bore banners, balloons and Palestinian flags.
The demonstration reached a fever pitch inside the park near 5:30 p.m. when a police motorcade flew by the protesters en route to the fundraiser.
Police declared an “unlawful assembly” at about 5:45 p.m, but the park wasn’t abandoned for another hour, when protesters spilled onto adjacent streets — marching near entrances to the Los Angeles Country Club on Comstock Avenue near Wilshire Boulevard.
While some officers said they were hit with eggs and water by demonstrators, there were no reported injuries or arrests as of 7:45 p.m. Some walls along Wilshire were tagged with graffiti, and protesters blocked and delayed traffic at various points along the thoroughfare.
Inside the fundraiser, Biden spoke for about 11 minutes, but did not mention Gaza.
Ahead of the protest, the Los Angeles Police Department warned that “violence of any kind will not be tolerated.”
The LAPD said in a post on the social media platform X that it was working with the Secret Service to deploy additional officers and other resources to “ensure the highest level of public safety.”
©2023 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.