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Protesters clash in downtown L.A., while Trump rallies unfold elsewhere in Southern California – Daily News


Protesters clashed Wednesday, Jan. 6, in downtown Los Angeles and small rallies played out elsewhere in Southern California while a massive demonstration unfolded amid turmoil at the U.S. Capitol.

Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in front of the Los Angeles Police Department’s headquarters, with officers asking the crowd to leave the as tensions were high with counter-protesters.

Police declared the rally an unlawful assembly, said Officer Tony Im, a department spokesman. A few people were taken into custody but an exact number was not yet available, said Officer J. Chavez, a another department spokesman. It is unclear why they were detained.

At 9 a.m., the crowd was 300 to 400 strong. By noon, the gathering was winding down, though protesters still scuffled with police and counterprotesters in scattered incidents in the city’s urban core.

One counter-protester wearing a Black Lives Matter insignia on his clothing was sprayed with a chemical irritant by a protester.

Mark Perez, a resident of Boyle Heights, was among those who drove downtown, leading a caravan of 50 or so cars from Pasadena.

“Our MAGA (Make America Great Again) flags are on our trucks,” he said Wednesday. “We want our freedom. We want to stop the steal.”

He said he believed there was election fraud, echoing the complaints of Trump supporters around the country. Legal challenges making similar claims have been rejected in the courts all the way up to the Supreme Court. Most rulings cited a lack of credible evidence.

“Seventy-four million patriots are (upset) because of the election and how the Democrats changed the votes,” Perez said. “We’re out here, showing Trump that we support him in Southern California, and we’re fighting for him because he fought for us for four years.”

Meanwhile, rallies formed in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, where people waved President Trump flags.

In Newport Beach, about 100 or so people lined up on the sidewalks at Pacific Coast Highway and MacArthur Boulevard waving flags emblazoned with Trump’s name as passing cars honked.

Officers were about; there were no reports of violence or disorder. The demonstrators kept to the sidewalk and by 1 p.m. had cleared the area.

At the Huntington Beach Pier, a frequent site of pro-Trump rallies, about 100 supporters of the president lined Pacific Coast Highway at one point, waving Trump and American flags at passing cars. Many donned MAGA hats and virtually none wore masks.

Many honked horns in apparent support.

The gathering was peaceful, and counterprotesters had not showed up as of 2 p.m.

Peter Rikard, a Seal Beach retiree who regularly attends Trump rallies, showed up at the Huntington Beach Pier. He said he didn’t agree with vandalism at the Capitol Hill protest and predicted things are going to get a lot uglier in the coming days and weeks.

“Nobody wants violence, but if the government isn’t listening to the people, it will happen, “said Rikard, whose leather vest included a “Bikers for Trump” patch. “There is a civil war coming. People are frustrated.”

Plumber Jerry Perez said he doesn’t believe Joe Biden won the election.

“I think the election was manipulated so well, it’s hard to prove,” said the 49-year-old from Orange. “We were doing well but Biden is going to lead us in another direction. I don’t want socialism.”

Like at least several others at the pier rally, one of Perez’s preferred news outlets is the pro-Trump One America News.

“People have had it,” he said. “People with any brain cells know something’s not right. People are upset and they aren’t going to stand for it.”

Staff photographers Hans Gutknecht, Sarah Reingewirtz and staff reporter Alma Fausto contributed to this report.





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