DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With President Donald Trump’s immigration raids looming, hundreds of protesters took to the streets across Southern California.
In downtown, protesters gathered outside the Metropolitan Detention Center where people spoke out against reports of condition at border detention centers and held signs in support of immigrant families.
“We must stop this now,” one speaker said. “The time is now. We cannot wait for another death at the border, at the detention centers.”
Some protesters even donned Mylar blankets — shown in photos taken at some of the detention centers — in solidarity with those detained.
“We want to make a loud and clear message to the government that we don’t want any more money going to the Dept of Homeland Security, because we’ve seen what they have done with that money,” Pedro Trujillo, an activist with the Los Angeles branch of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, said.
The rally lasted for a couple of hours and was attended by families and children, many of whom left behind messages on the street in chalk.
And while the rally downtown was the largest in Los Angeles, a smaller protest was happening in West Hollywood where a group of demonstrators attended a “Lights for Liberty” event.
And it’s not just the public at large voicing opposition to this weekend’s announced raids. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city leaders demanded more humane treatment of migrants coming to the United States seeking asylum and called for an end to detention centers.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his department will not be taking part in the raids, adding that actions like this have very damaging impacts on communities.
“What we can tell them is keep your doors shut, ask for a search warrant, and if they don’t have it, then don’t open the door,” he said.
Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said the Los Angeles Police Department also would not be taking part in the raids.
But the protests around the nation weren’t all against the immigration action.
Protesters in San Bernardino were holding a rally in support of Trump and ICE chanting, “We love ICE,” and holding signs that read, “Build the wall.”
Raids are reported to begin Sunday in cities across the country including Los Angeles and San Francisco.