Ferguson protest spills on to 101 Freeway in Echo Park [updated]

ECHO PARK – The CHP is trying to clear Ferguson protesters who have blocked some southbound lanes of the 101 Freeway at Alvarado Street, according to several media accounts. At one point traffic in both directions was blocked for about 20 minutes before the freeway was reopened at about 10 a.m., reports L.A. Now.

Update: Freeway lanes have been reopened but freeway traffic remains backed up in both directions, according to media reports. Protesters are being arrested.


  1. There are ways to assert your first amendment rights. Blocking a freeway is not one of them.

    • Carsmakepeoplestupid

      A public demonstration usually happens in or at a public place….just fyi.

      • Fantastic.. a legal dilettante. first amendment does not protect unlawful assembly, meaning you can’t assemble anywhere, anytime you please. Assembling on a freeway would very likely fall under the umbrella of “unlawful assembly”.

    • Ummmm, DUH! But if you want the media to place you first on the line up?

  2. It’s hard to imagine a better way to get Angelenos to NOT sympathize with your message.

    • Ha, completely agree. From the looks of things, the protests are all very non-violent in LA – but freeway squatting is not a winner. That comes from youthful enthusiasm mixed with youthful foolishness.
      Banners OVER the freeway – now that works great. Just a few blocks from there is the banner about climate change. Just add to it.
      Also, maybe some nice guerrilla art, some paste cutouts that can catch on. And when the artist eventually sells fancier versions of them at a gallery for $1000 a pop, they can talk about ‘doing well by doing good’

  3. Get over yourselves.

  4. Stopping traffic is a symbolic gesture. It is putting a halt to business as usual which in law enforcement means the unfair treatment of people of color. Though I am white, I am a gay man of a certain age and thus, I see this issue through the same eyes as every nonwhite person who has been treated unfairly at the hands of police. It is time for reforms and I applaud the protestors for taking a public stand. Anyone who doesn’t like it, needs to develop a bit of compassion and understanding. During this Thanksgiving week, I am thankful that these issues of inequality are finally being forced under the specter of examination.

    • I remember watching a documentary about Berkeley in the 1960s, and there was footage of a young white protestor talking to a young African-American woman who was trying to get through the blockade. The protestor was trying to explain why they were blocking the road, and she yelled at him, “I gotta get to work.” He was probably middle-class (a member of the group Saul Alinsky called “have-a-little, want mores”) but the woman rushing to work (a “have-not”) had more basic needs (getting to her job) that the protestors ignored.

      How many low-income workers – folks whose jobs are already on shaky ground – end up arriving at work late when these types of protests block vital roadways? To me, it’s the height of arrogance to block a freeway; these protestors are basically telling the rest of the city, “Our issue and our beliefs are more important than you are.”

    • Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins

    • ebolaofthemind.com

      I am sorry for anything bad that may have happened to you because you are gay or anything that has happened to people because of their race. I almost died from an allergic reaction once because I couldn’t move my vehicle and the ambulance took an excessively long time to get to me because of a sever traffic jam. Shame on those people for stopping traffic. Not only could that cause an accident it could also hinder emergency personnel from reaching someone in distress. Use your head. There is a better way to get your voice heard.

  5. So funny, so misguided and so sad.

  6. You all think the protest would be in the news if the protesters had not blocked a highway? I think it’s great.

    • The protestors could have found many other creative ways to grab the media’s attention without inconveniencing innocent commuters. For example, look at Medea Benjamin and the group Code Pink for some effective protest tactics, or travel back to the sixties, when Abbie Hoffman dumped a bunch of dollar bills onto the floor of the NYSE.

      There are plenty of clever, creative methods to attract news cameras to one’s message … but somehow their freeway blockade seems appropriate, in light of the fact that Michael Brown first attracted police attention because he was walking in the middle of the street.

      • Montgomery bus boycott shut down the bus system “illegally”
        Rosa Parks blocked white riders seats “illegally”
        The Birmingham campaign sought to over flow the jails by getting arrested while protesting peacefully.
        The march from Selma to Montgomery blocked traffic. Cops beat and hosed down peaceful marchers in the name of clearing streets and bridges.

        Those were civil rights protests.

        This is too.

        • I love boycotts and strongly recommend them; I’ve been boycotting Carl’s Jr., Dominos Pizza, Unocal 76 gas stations, and Wal-Mart for 20+ years. I don’t think a bus boycott is analogous to blocking a freeway. In any case, I get your point, and I realize civil-rights marches sometimes block traffic, but I think you cheapen the civil rights movement when you equate this case with a fight for civil rights. If we believe the police officer’s account – and I believe 70% of it – this kid who was killed was not an innocent victim.

          I think it would be very useful for the police to publicize their policies and guidelines that explain, very clearly, when they are justified in using deadly force. There are too many young people who don’t seem to realize that a police officer doesn’t behave the same as their K-12 teachers who have to take students’ abuse and cannot lift a finger to defend themselves. Over the past ten years, I’ve had six or seven students threaten me or challenge me to a fight; teachers are safe targets for angry young men, and after receiving a pass for violent behavior for so many years, it doesn’t surprise me that some of those young men go on to butt heads with law enforcement.

          • I think cop training is the problem. Lots of kids who spend time on the streets have bad attitudes toward cops, for a lot of understandable reasons. That doesn’t excuse them. But it is mostly the kids that are dying. Not the cops. To me that means the cops are doing their job badly. If a kid is an asshole, the cops need to find a better way to deal with it. It will always be easy for a cop to say “I feared for my life”. Well, they need to find a way to avoid that situation. The crazy militaristic response to the early protests underscore my point, with the mraps, M16’s and the desert camo. Bad response, bad training. At the core of this type of response is racism. But the cops still think they have done nothing wrong. That is why massive protests are needed. To persuade the cops that they need to adjust their training and behavior. Officer Wilson said himself that he would do it all again. Really? Wouldn’t he have tried to avoid taking a life? Some how? The cops think it is ok to shoot an unarmed black kid dead on the street. How else do you propose that we change their minds? LBJ and Nixon came to understand how wrong they were about the Vietnam war because of the massive outpouring of people onto the streets. This is a civil rights struggle. Plain and simple.

          • I don’t agree that the cops’ responses are driven by racism, but I do agree that police could benefit from finding other ways to interact with young men – and with the public in general. K-12 teachers in the U.S. manage to do their jobs without laying hands on their students (most of the time), yet many police officers seem to take even the smallest sign of resistance as a huge affront to their authority, and they do seem to overreact. Regardless, I stand by my point that the police should focus on educating the public so that everyone understands when they can and will use force. Inner-city police have a very difficult job, and I think it’s reasonable for them to take precautions to protect themselves when they feel they’re in danger.

          • One last point: I wish that the protestors would take twenty percent of their energy and devote it toward protesting the gang members who are responsible for the vast majority of homicides in inner-city communities. In my opinion, black-on-black crime is a civil-rights struggle of much higher importance than police brutality. Just read the L.A. Times Homicide Report for a few months – I’ve been reading it for years – and you’ll see that the vast majority of black men who were killed were not victims of the police. They died at the hands of other black men. (Don’t get me started on black-on-white or black-on-Asian crime. There are plenty of silent victims there; no protests or riots on behalf of them.)

          • I agree that black on black AND brown on brown violence has a much higher body count and from a numbers stand point it is a bigger problem. But is a different problem from the one the protesters are addressing. To say that there is not a race element in the cop on black problem is, to me, like saying there is not a race element to lynching. Yes, there is a big difference, but to say that it comes from black kids not knowing the risks and limits of confronting cops, ignores what the cops think (maybe subconsciously) they can get away with when it comes to dealing with black kids. Here’s a stat…

            “The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.”

            Don’t tell me race has nothing to do with it.

            I think it is important for ALL people, not to say “I am not racist” but rather to say “how am I racist?” and address it. We all are. We all need to adjust our behavior. And when you are a cop the stakes are much higher….

  7. I’m sure next time there is an injustice, I’m sure the protesters will call and confirm that their outrage matches up with all your schedules.

  8. rise up. break shit. but block an LA freeway and the whole city is gonna want to smack you.

  9. Hell hath no fury like an LA commuter mildly inconvenienced.

    • It’s not for you to declare commuters “mildly inconvenienced.” We have no way of knowing who was traveling where or how urgent their trip was. Again, such comments seem arrogant and I don’t think they help win anyone to the protestors’ cause.

      • Because of these acts of civil disobedience, police brutality is at the forefront of the national discussion.

        This means blocking these freeways has been effective. They have my support.

        • When I watched the video of Michael Brown bullying the store owner minutes before his fatal run-in with the police officer, I lost all sympathy for him. I find it very easy to believe the police officer’s account of the events, and while I believe we need to hold police accountable, we also need to hold young, testosterone-laden men accountable for their aggressive, antisocial behavior. Michael Brown isn’t Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, and in my opinion, these protestors in L.A. – and the rioters in Ferguson – have made a lousy choice by rallying behind him.

          • @James You say “we also need to hold young, testosterone-laden men accountable for their aggressive, antisocial behavior.” Is 12 shots enough for you?
            Happy Thanksgiving, you got your wish.

            “Officer Wilson fired 12 shots in all in his encounter with the 18-year-old. Of those, at least six hit Brown, killing him, according to the postmortem examination report conducted by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner.”

          • I wish the officer had used a taser or pepper-spray on Brown rather than shoot him, but I guess those methods aren’t as “reliable” in stopping a threat, and if we believe the officer’s account, he had already been punched in the face once or twice by Brown.

        • Civil disobedience? Is that what you call illegally and ignorantly blocking freeways, exposing drivers and protesters (yes even those POS’s), and emergency personnel to very dangerous conditions? Because most people would agree this goes beyond the pale of meaningful demonstrations and enters into terrorism territory.. If you’re trying to win friends and influence people with these idiotic grand gestures, then major fail. All this makes us want to do is beat the crap out of you. However bad these Occupy Anarchists are, the cops are worse for not cracking down hard enough. Charlie Beck and the Mayor are proving to be major wusses and ineffectual leaders. Some protectors.

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