Dozens of protesters were arrested Saturday (July 17) at a transgender rights protest outside Wi Spa in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said.
According to LA local news outlet KTLA, the protesters were at the spa showing support of the venue’s trans-inclusive policy, which allows trans women to use women’s facilities. Earlier in the month, a customer shared a video on Instagram of her interaction with Wi Spa management. Within the visual, the woman is visibly outraged because she says a male patron took his clothes off and showed his genitals to young girls. The patron the woman was referring to also reportedly identifies as a woman.
“He is a man,” the woman says in the now viral video. “He is not a female. There are girls down there, other women who are highly offended by what they just saw and you did nothing. You sided with him.”
LGBTQ Protestors began clashing with counter-protestors and police shortly after the incident occurred. On Saturday (July 17), however, LAPD declared the scene an unlawful assembly after smoke bombs and other projectiles were hurled at officers, LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar said.
Around 11 a.m. LAPD began ordering protestors to clear out. “All corners except the southwest corner of Wilshire Blvd and Rampart Blvd have been designated protest zones for this incident,” the LAPD tweeted.
While most demonstrators left on their own will, many others pushed back and refused to leave the area. The LAPD arrested them for “failure to disperse.” Videos shared on social media show police robed in riot gear shooting bean bag rounds and 40-millimeter hard-foam projectiles at protesters. Several weapons including a stun gun, pepper spray, knives and mace were found on the ground in the area where the arrests were made, LAPD tweeted. No serious injuries have been reported.
Check out the viral video that sparked the protests below: