Eighteen people, including a Los Angeles city councilman, were arrested Monday after a protesters gathered at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in downtown Los Angeles, officials said.
Protesters blocked the driveway and entrances leading to the facility near Alameda and Aliso streets, chanting “Shut down ICE!” and marching outside of the facility.
They were led by Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin and Rabbi Jonathan Klein as part of a nationwide call to end the separation of families at the borders.
Bonin and Klein were among the 18 people arrested near the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal facility that has been used to house detainees in ICE custody.
“The news, the images and the sounds of the Trump administration’s cruel and sadistic zero tolerance policy have wrenched my heart. As an American, I am appalled. As a father, I am sick and angry,” Bonin said in a statement released after his arrest. “When the government rips kids from their parents’ arms, opens baby jails, and throws families seeking asylum into internment camps, our common humanity is at risk. How does a parent not risk arrest? What’s happening is not normal. It’s sick and evil, and treating it like a mere policy disagreement is absurd and complicit. For our kids, for our country, and for our humanity, we need to roar and resist- with our voices and with our bodies. It is an urgent act of love, and a necessary act of patriotism.”
Bonin’s office said those arrested were booked by the Los Angeles Police Department and released.
Protesters left candles, dried flowers and posters along the street in front of ICE that read, “Justice for the Children, Keep Families Together and Free the Kids.”
“The fact that children are being separated from their parents, or have been without any regard for reunification in the future is fundamentally wrong, evil and horrible for the future of our country,” Klein told KTLA at the protest prior to his arrest. “I’d like to see ICE stop this madness of destroying families and tearing families apart.
The arrests come two days after hundreds of thousands of people gathered at more than 700 “Families Belong Together” protests across the country, including in downtown L.A. Organizers estimated some 75,000 people attended the Los Angeles event, where speakers included Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Kamala Harris, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Rep. Maxine Waters, as well as celebrities.