Protesters and police clashed inside the Third Street tunnel in downtown Los Angeles overnight, with officers firing non-lethal rubber bullets into the crowd and arresting 10 people, authorities said Thursday.
The arrests were for crimes that included vandalism and battery on a police officer, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The protests against police brutality began to turn violent around 11 p.m. Wednesday when some in the crowd began spray-painting graffiti on glass doors of the U.S. Bank Tower, located at 633 W. Fifth St. Demonstrators began moving away from the tower and marched into the Third Street tunnel where they were corralled by Los Angeles police officers, who set up skirmish lines at both ends.
Fighting briefly broke out between officers in riot gear and protesters before both sides pulled back around 11:10 p.m.
A protester, identified only as Matthew, told City News Service that officers on the east end of the tunnel began firing rubber bullets into the group. He said police told him the officers had been attacked by demonstrators, prompting the use of non-lethal force.
The group of about 100 protesters moved toward the west end of the tunnel, where police pushed them onto sidewalks and began searching demonstrators and confiscating umbrellas and shields they were carrying, he said.
That’s when police began arresting protesters, according to the witness and a news photographer at the scene, who added at least three people sustained minor injuries from the rubber bullets.
Beginning about 6 p.m. Wednesday, about 300 people protested outside the Hall of Justice, near Second and Temple streets, then marched around City Hall and Los Angeles Police Department headquarters after 10 p.m., many shouting anti-police slogans.
Los Angeles police officers, some in riot gear, stood watch behind metal barriers outside police headquarters.
The protests, which have taken place for three consecutive nights, were focused on the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the subsequent shooting deaths of two protesters and the wounding of another during demonstrations in that city.
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