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LAPD prepared for anything

Issued: 2018-03-11

March 11, 2018 12:00 AM

LOS ANGELES – Since President Donald Trump took office, California has been the epicenter of the resistance, home to countless protests, marches, impromptu airport rallies and, of course, commentary of various kinds of Facebook and Twitter.

But it's all been done at a distance, because Trump has avoided California. Until this week.

Trump will spend Tuesday and a bit of Wednesday in Southern California, visiting prototypes for the border wall he's vowed to build in San Diego and attending a fundraiser on Los Angeles' Westside.

What remains unclear is whether his brief visit will bring out major protests. Some anti-Trump activists said they intend some kind of action, but so far there have been no plans for a massive demonstration such as the women's march last year or some of the immigration demonstrations that clogged the streets of downtown L.A.

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Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Horace Frank, who oversees the counterterrorism and special operations bureau, said that although no permitted protests in the form of marches are planned, authorities do expect to see both opponents and supporters out in numbers during a presidential visit.

"We are prepared for anything," he said.

At least one protest is planned in Beverly Hills area between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m Tuesday by a Facebook group, Trump Not Welcome in LA. More than 1,000 people have indicated they will attend. The Los Angeles Police Department is preparing for many more protests of various sizes on the Westside. Trump's earlier visits to L.A. while he was a candidate did bring out demonstrators.

Some protests are also planned for the San Diego area.

Ron Gochez, a political secretary with political group Union del Barrio's Los Angeles chapter, is organizing the Beverly Hills protest. The same group plans a rally against Trump on Monday evening in San Diego, the day before he arrives in the region to inspect prototypes for his proposed southern border wall. He plans to visit Beverly Hills the same day, where he plans to attend a Republican fundraiser.

As of Friday afternoon, Gochez said, more than a thousand people were following the Beverly Hills protest Facebook page even though he was still unclear about where the protest would take place.

"He cannot step foot in this state and not expect an organized response to denounce him," Gochez said. "We have dignity and we can only demonstrate that through denouncing Trump and fighting for freedom from fear. We are not just going to stand with our arms crossed while they deport us or attack Muslims or women's rights."

California and Trump have been on a collision course since he took office, clashing on immigration, climate change and other issues. The Justice Department last week sued California over state laws aimed at providing sanctuary for those here illegally. Trump and other members of his administration have slammed Oakland's mayor after she issued a public warning last month that immigration agents were about to conduct sweeps across the Bay Area.

This isn't the first time a state has so vehemently opposed a sitting president, said Louis DeSipio, a professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine.

For instance, a cluster of southern states stood in defiance in the late 1950s and early '60s when the federal government sought to desegregate schools.

Still, California stands out in that "you've never had a state as large and as economically and politically important to the nation and the world standing in outright opposition to a sitting president on a number of policies, including immigration," DeSipio said.


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