Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down federal abortion protections under Roe v. Wade, protesters gathered in downtown Los Angeles Friday to condemn the ruling and vow to “fight like hell” to protect women’s rights.

Carrying signs with slogans such as “Overturn Roe? Hell no,” “Keep abortion safe + legal” and “My body my choice,” protesters marched outside the federal court building, at times chanting “This decision must not stand, legal abortion on demand.”

A series of speakers passionately addressed the crowd outside the courthouse, blasting the ruling as an assault on women’s rights and danger to women’s lives.

“We are coming together today to fight like hell like our lives depend on it, because they do,” one speaker shouted to the crowd. “… We need to turn our fear into anger. We need to turn our fear into fury, because that is how we are going to stop this. This decision must not stand. … We need to take to the streets and say this Supreme Court decision must not stand.”

Another speaker, her voice quaking, told the crowd, “I’m angry. We’re all angry. People at home are angry.”

“We are very fortunate to live here in California,” she said. “… I worry for my friends and family in Texas.”

She told the crowd they need to “take your fear and be brave” to fight against the ruling.

Yet another speaker, saying she’s “very frustrated,” blasted assertions that banning abortion is a “pro-life” decision.

“Don’t tell me this is a pro-life issue when we have situations like Uvalde,” she said, referring to the Texas town where a mass shooting killed students and teachers at an elementary school. “… They don’t care about kids. They don’t care about people who are dying.”

Protests and rallies were quickly organized Friday in response to the Supreme Court decision. Additional protests were held later Friday at Pershing Square, outside Los Angeles City Hall, in Hollywood, Pasadena, Claremont, Fullerton and Irvine.

A candlelight vigil was held Friday night in West Hollywood. In Beverly Hills, officials said City Hall would be bathed in pink light throughout the weekend in support of women’s rights.

Protesters walked onto the northbound side of the Harbor (110) Freeway at Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles around 7 p.m. A different group of protesters clashed with a line of Los Angeles Police Department officers who tried to block them from advancing down an on-ramp, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In video provided to The Times, dozens of protesters chanted at Eighth and Olive streets as police in riot gear pushed through the intersection. A firework was launched into the crowd, and some people scattered.

The protests caused the LAPD to go on citywide tactical alert.

A dispersal order was issued in the area of Fourth and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles around 9:30 p.m. Main Street between Third and Fifth streets in downtown Los Angeles was closed nearly an hour.

The number of people arrested was not immediately available.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore told KNX Newsradio earlier Friday the agency was shifting some of its deployment plans to ensure it is prepared to respond of any protests in the coming days get out of hand, the way some did two years ago during mass protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

“Los Angeles will be safe,” Moore told KNX. “What was learned from two years ago were lessons in training and development of added tools. We’re not going to have any tolerance for people who wish to hijack this and resort to violence.”

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