Protesters forced Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to cut short a speech at the University of Southern California amid a heated exchange over his approach to the city’s homelessness crisis.
Garcetti was less than a minute into a speech in front of around 350 people when protesters stood up and interrupted him, according to the Los Angeles Times. The protesters were part of Los Angeles Community Action Network, the Democratic Socialists of America, and other groups that have protested the mayor over his policies.
LA CAN has also protested development. Last year they demonstrated against Realm and Urban Offerings’ 7th & Maple project near Skid Row, criticizing the developers for building units out of reach for the homeless population in the area.
One protester accused Garcetti of trying to stop the formation of a Skid Row neighborhood council. Another accused the city of tossing out people’s belongings during tent sweeps, including medicine and important documents.
Another protester called L.A. a city “where real estate interests displace entire communities of color.”
At one point, protesters accused Garcetti of being culpable in human rights violations in a rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Garcetti’s responses were often interrupted by a subsequent protester.
The crowd at times applauded Garcetti, who left after about 20 minutes of back and forth with the protesters.
Critics have accused Garcetti of failing to address the homelessness crisis in the city. There around 58,000 people experiencing homelessness in L.A. as of last year. The city has taken up a number of policies in the last few years to get people off the streets and into housing, including a sometimes unpopular bridge housing program. [LAT] – Dennis Lynch