What happened at Echo Park? Protesters block LAPD move to uproot homeless community over $500K repair work

Paramilitary forces have been deployed to control the crowd of protesters at the venure


                            What happened at Echo Park? Protesters block LAPD move to uproot homeless community over $500K repair work
Protesters gathered at Echo Park (Twitter/DemSocialists of Los Angeles)

Massive protests erupted at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, as the city planned to clear out a large homeless encampment from the park. The city council planned to uproot the homeless community from the park in view of a $500,000 worth of repair work, that would entail repair of the lighting, plumbing, better public safety measures, and removal of hazardous material. 

As the news surfaced, demonstrators gathered in the area from across the city, protesting the removal of homeless people, reported ABC7. The public stated that the area has grown into a largely supportive community. They managed to thwart the city authorities' efforts to force out the homeless from the location. At present, the situation has escalated further, and paramilitary forces have been deployed on the ground to control the crowd. Amid protests, '#EchoParkRiseUp is trending on Twitter.



 

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What is happening now at Echo Park?

Reportedly, around four dozen homeless individuals currently reside in the park who would be removed if the repair work ensues as planned. Earlier this year, around a hundred homeless people were believed to be residing in the same area, but a fraction of them had been relocated elsewhere through various housing programs. In fact, City Council Mitch O'Farrell stated that the city had previously housed more than 120 people through transitional housing projects.

However, the protesters and activists believe that the self-run, diverse community, complete with a vegetable garden, kitchen, and working showers, do not deserve to be cleared. Meanwhile, homeless advocates argue that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had advised against the clearance of embankments during the pandemic since it poses a huge risk of spreading the disease. 

"I'm urging you to not displace the over 100 folks that reside at the lake, especially during this ongoing pandemic and to instead focus on connecting folks with a variety of services and housing options they deserve," appealed Sachin Medhekar from SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Condition. 

"I've slept on the streets for the last 10 years in Venice, until the last seven months here and it felt like a retreat," remarked David Busch-Lilly, a homeless resident of the park who has been living homeless for the past two decades. 

Protesters at Echo Park

Protesters raise the slogan: 'EchoParkRiseUp'

A live stream of the event from the ground shows the ongoing situation at the moment. 



 

"Probably close to 400 LAPD officers spread out all throughout Echo Park Lake, over 100 police cars (packed w/ 4 cops each), 3 busses, 2 helicopters, & other city departments getting ready to throw people's belongings, etc. Tax dollars spent to criminalize poverty. #EchoParkRiseUp," tweeted a protester.

"NOW: In Echo Park, over a hundred housing activists gather to protest the closure of sweeping of houseless encampments in the park. Many LAPD officers present. Also photoed: nearby, contractors for the city meet with several trucks piled with fencing, presumably for the park," another informed. 



 



 

As per the latest update from a protester, LAPD has declared an unlawful assembly in Echo Park.