LAPD arrests dozens of protesters for “illegal assembly” on election night.

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The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arrested dozens of people near Staples Center on election night after it declared rallies illegal.

The police department tweeted that an illegal gathering in the area of West Pico Boulevard and South Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday night had been declared illegal because of “a large and unruly crowd.

In the tweet, a picture of detainees, most of them dressed in black and tied behind their backs with zippers, was shared along with a picture of an LAPD officer apparently giving dispersal orders over a loudspeaker.

Around 9:30 p.m., police reported that the protesters were also ordered to clear the area a few blocks away, near the intersection of West 18th Street and South Figueroa Street.

UPDATE: About 30 people were cited for being at the intersection. Approximately 40 people were arrested for blocking the railroad tracks and not parting after an illegal meeting was declared. This is preliminary information and subject to change. pic.twitter.com/io1hbsyNd1

– LAPD Headquarters (@LAPDHQ) November 4, 2020

A video released by the department shows officers blocking access to a street while an announcement is heard warning people to leave the area. “At this time, anyone who is in the area must leave the area immediately and follow all instructions given by a police officer,” added the LAPD.

A short time later, police reported that about 30 people were cited for being at the intersection, while 40 people were arrested for blocking train tracks and not parting after an illegal gathering was declared.

The Los Angeles Times reported that police in riot gear also arrested a group of people near Washington Boulevard and South Grand Avenue around 11 p.m.

The newspaper reported that a total of about 50 people were arrested on Tuesday night. They were loaded into buses and driven away while some of those left behind shouted at the police.

Most of the people arrested were demonstrators, but according to The Times, some of them were legal observers and others said they were walking around the protest area at the time of their arrest.

Due to a large and unruly crowd, the LAPD declared an illegal gathering illegal and issued a dispersal order for the area of the northwest corner of Pico & Figueroa. At this time, anyone in the area must immediately leave the area and obey all instructions from a police officer. This area is now closed. pic.twitter.com/SwNRsznqE2

– LAPD Headquarters (@LAPDHQ) November 4, 2020

Richard Ybarra, the interim executive director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, said that among those arrested were five legal observers wearing the organization’s green hats.

“This is very unusual. LAPD is very aware of our role there,” Ybarra told The Times.

LAPD was asked for additional comment.

The police department issued a city-wide tactical warning “to ensure adequate resources to deal with any incidents that may arise from the activities on election day,” but said it was not triggered by a specific incident.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County, however, recently said that he would pursue a “zero tolerance” policy toward any violence or looting. He pointed out that this was a reaction to the unrest in the city following the assassination of George Floyd in late May and early June.

His warning also came after large crowds gathered in front of the Staples Center, after the Lakers won the NBA championship and after the Dodgers won the World Series last month. The celebrations were marred by vandalism and looting on both occasions.

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