Police in riot gear were confronting protesters Tuesday night on 6th Street near Union Avenue and fired non-lethal projectiles toward the crowd that had gathered to protest the shooting death of man who officers said was wielding a switchblade Sunday.
The confrontation was sparked after people tore down a police sign and threw objects at windows of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart station at 6th and Valencia streets. The crowd was pushed west on 6th toward Union Avenue by the officers in riot gear.
Earlier, about 300 people were blocking the intersection of Union and 6th. They were standing outside the Restaurant Atilan Express, a Guatemalan eatery, and were illuminated by the spotlight of police helicopters circling overhead.
The shooting of Manuel Jamines, who the LAPD says threatened officers and passersby with a knife, has heightened tensions in the heavily immigrant community.
Several people were shouting angrily into loudspeakers and a group of young men are weaving through the crowd on bicycles. A vendor hawked bags of potato chips.
The protesters have been turning cars back. Someone threw eggs on the windshield of two cars that tried to pass, and another pinned an anti-police protest sign on the back of a car that tried to back away.
A few feet away, Vitalina Rubio, 52, looked on with disappointment.
“You can’t fight violence with violence,” said Rubio, a Mexican immigrant who has lived in the MacArthur Park area for nine years.
She was clutching a pink candle in her hands.
She said she understood the protesters’ violence, even if she did not support it.
“I understand their anger because they don’t think there’s been justice,” she said. “They think the police could have used other tactics.”
She said many people felt resentment toward police even before Sunday’s incident.
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