Hat tip LA Jewish Journal
Today a crowd of what I would estimate in the thousands turned out in front of the Federal Building in West Los Angeles waving American and Israel flags in a loud show of support for Israel. I was there and took pictures and video (Video to follow). There was also a crowd of several dozen pro-Palestinians waving Palestinian flags. LAPD and security kept the pro-Palestinians on the north side of Wilshire Blvd. while the pro-Israel crowd dominated the south side and adjacent corners. There was one incident of violence on the part of the pro-Palestinians and some arrests were made. It has not been one hundred per cent conformed yet, but it appears that a DHS officer fired a shot at the fleeing suspects.
Sometime after five o'clock, we heard what sounded like a gunshot coming from the south side of Wilshire where most of the Israel crowd was lined up along the curb. Police converged at the scene and moments later two squad cars with lights and sirens proceeded east on Wilshire where they stopped a grey pickup truck. Here is how the LA Jewish Journal reported it. They have a video of the incident, and what appears to be a shot can be heard as the vehicle takes off.
According to witnesses I talked to, all of the occupants of the truck except the driver came out of the truck and began throwing sticks and a tire iron into the crowd before climbing back into the truck. Other witnesses said a DHS officer was struck by a tire iron and fired a shot at the fleeing suspects. Initial reports are that four Palestinians who reside in Anaheim have been arrested. I should also note that other witnesses said fire crackers were thrown into the street. As you can imagine, accounts are all over the place. I was able to observe the suspect vehicle near the corner of Wilshire and Westwood after the suspects had been removed.
The atmosphere was definitely tense, and at times one or two of the pro-Israel or pro-Palestinians tried to cross the street to provoke the other side. Police and security kept them from succeeding. There were also a lot of motorists driving down Wilshire with Israeli flags and honking and a few Palestinian supporters as well doing the same.
All in all, I must say that with all the other demonstrations going on around the US and the world, LA did its part to send a massive show of support to Israel. By the way, I disagree with the Journal's crowd estimates. At the most I would say there were 70-80 pro-Palestinians and two-three thousand pro-Israel supporters. It was loud; it was festive, and the good guys carried the day. I will post the videos I took tomorrow.
Kudos to the Israel American Council and Stand With Us who organized it.