Dozens of renters and activists amassed outside a Los Angeles Superior Court building in downtown Los Angeles Friday, setting up tents and forming a barricade outside some entrances to call for renewed legislation to prevent evictions during the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
The protesters chanted slogans and held rope to block at least one entrance to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Hill Street in a symbolic effort to “shut down” the courthouse as a show of opposition to eviction hearings.
Other activists circled the building in a car caravan, their vehicles decorated with signs calling for a renewed ban on evictions and forgiveness from rent that tenants cannot afford to pay due to the pandemic.
“Right now, they’re just relying on Social Security to get by,” activist Annie Shaw told ABC7, discussing older renters financially impacted by the coronavirus.
She called on the state to pass Assembly Bill 1436 that activist said would prevent evictions while also providing relief for some landlords.
“They (tenants) cannot afford to repay the rent that’s owed due to loss of income during COVID,” Shaw said.
A statewide eviction moratorium is set to expire Sept. 1, although some local jurisdictions have also enacted bans on evictions.
Activist Elena Popp told NBC4 it makes no sense to allow evictions during a pandemic, when people who test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus must have a place to quarantine or isolate.
“The governor, the state Legislature have to recognize that the only way to flatten the curve is to give people a place to shelter in place,” she said. “It is inconsistent to tell people to shelter in place and then kick them out of the place where they are sheltering.”
Although protesters did block some entrances to the courthouse, business appeared to be continuing inside the building, with some attorneys and visitors accessing the building through a side entry. The court put out a statement early Friday warning people of the protest, and advising that “entry may be restricted or delayed.”
Protesters indicated they plan to remain in place outside the building until they are removed by law enforcement.