LITTLE TOKYO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Some members of the Little Tokyo community are hoping to save a long-time restaurant from being pushed out for a proposed marijuana dispensary.
Protesters on Sunday took over 1st Street outside Suehiro Cafe. The owner of the restaurant was served an eviction notice earlier this year.
Community members are now outraged after finding out the landlord did not renew the lease and filed paperwork to replace the restaurant with a marijuana dispensary.
The Japanese-American restaurant has been there since 1972.
Protesters held up signs that read "Little Tokyo is not for sale" and "Little Tokyo for the people not big business."
"Unless we have the people here, it's not Little Tokyo," said David Monkawa, an organizer with Save Our Cities. "They can stick in as many murals, they can stick in museums and all kinds of things - and we love them - but if you kick out the people, it's not Little Tokyo."
Activists ask people to sign a pledge, launching a campaign to boycott businesses that they say are gentrifying the neighborhood. They say the fight is bigger than just one restaurant.
"We're here to fight back and send a message to all of these landlords, and anyone who wants to bring the threat of gentrification to Little Tokyo that we are willing to fight and we're ready to fight," said Sharyl Quock, an organizer with J-Town Action and Solidarity.
The owner of Suehiro says the rent was hiked up from $6,500 a month to $10,000. They just opened a new location in downtown Los Angeles in September.