Immigrant-rights protesters arrested after blocking downtown LA intersection

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Immigrant-rights protesters were arrested after they blocked an intersection outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Several dozen protesters gathered around 7 a.m. at the intersection of Los Angeles and Temple streets near the downtown federal building, where ICE has its offices.

Some of the demonstrators linked hands while lying down on the pavement while others marched around them in a circle. The intersection was shut down, and police routed traffic away from the area.

The Los Angeles Police Department was placed on modified tactical alert, and officials advised the public to avoid the area.

Around 11 a.m., officers ordered the protesters to disperse. While some heeded the order, others stayed put. That's when officers began taking the protesters into custody, one by one, on suspicion of unlawful assembly.

Police had to cut through what they described as "sleeping dragon" devices that linked the protesters arm-in-arm on the ground. In total, police said they arrested eight protesters for "failure to disperse."

Organizers said in a press release they would be demanding a stop to deportation of Central American immigrant families and recognition that they are refugees seeking asylum.

"Of course we're concerned about going to jail but we are fighting for justice," said one demonstrator laying on the ground.

The protest snarled downtown Los Angeles traffic, which infuriated some commuters.

"I don't think they should be allowed to block a major intersection at 9 o'clock downtown L.A.," said Mark Barrera, a motorist. "Take a gander and do a protest where it doesn't affect all the other people."

The intersection has since been reopened and traffic returned to normal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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