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Protesters disrupt LA Civil Rights Office celebration

Protesters unhappy with Los Angeles City Hall’s homelessness and policing policies disrupted the city’s new department celebration on Monday, drowning out remarks by Mayor Eric Garcetti and others .

More than a dozen protesters chanted, shouted and used a megaphone to shout curse words at officials who had gathered for the opening of the new office of the Department of Civil and Human Rights and Equity opposite the city ​​Hall.

Garcetti left shortly after the protesters started screaming and other attendees ended the event indoors, away from the protesters.

At one point, several police officers lined up in front of the office door.

Carla Orendorff, who held a sign comparing the mayor to a clown, criticized officials for celebrating civil rights after supporting a new city ordinance banning camping around parks, libraries and other facilities. Critics say he unfairly punishes the homeless.

“The city of Los Angeles is among the biggest violators of civil rights,” said Orendorff.

Another protester, Nina, suggested the city was not doing enough to prevent the homeless from dying on the streets.

“It’s hypocrisy when people talk about civil rights,” said Nina, who declined to give her last name.

Some protesters also brought up the sexual harassment case involving a former Garcetti aide, yelling at the mayor and demanding to know if there had been a cover-up of the allegations.

The creation of the Directorate of Civil and Human Rights and Equity was announced over a year ago by Garcetti. The department investigates discrimination in education, commerce, employment and housing.

City comptroller Ron Galperin, speaking inside the department’s offices, said the protest is a “reminder of why we need this department” and cited the divisions seen locally and nationally.

After the news event, Garcetti told reporters he supported the right of protesters to assemble, but also said some were “shouting” and others “doing”.

“Civil rights work isn’t just about what we say, it’s really what we do,” Garcetti said.

Ricci Sergienko, an organizer of the activist group People’s City Council who attended Monday’s protest, said no group had organized the protest.

Protests targeting politicians have become more vocal and personal over the past year. City council will vote Tuesday on a bill that would prohibit protesters from approaching within 300 feet of a target’s home.