Photo credit: Libby Denkman/LAist
By Serran Soledad
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles city council tentatively approved an ordinance which prohibits protesters from coming within 300 feet of the protest target’s private home—expanding a municipal code already in place that restricts targeted protests to no closer than 100 feet of a person’s residence. With the newest motion, introduced by city council president Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, both from the Democratic Party, the State is acting to further protect ruling-class figures and restrict the people’s right to protest.
At city hall on Monday, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti spoke in favor of the ordinance. He attempted to compare protesting at a politician’s home with the racist lynchings of Black people in America, stating that the “darkest chapters” in US history involved people targeting private homes.
If passed fully, the ordinance would allow individuals targeted at home to sue protesters if made to feel “aggrieved” or unfairly treated. Additionally, violators of the ordinance may also face a fine of up to $1,000. An urgency clause is featured in the draft ordinance that would put it into immediate effect if passed.
The ruling class politicians introduced the ordinance after their homes were targeted by reactionary, anti-vaccination protesters late last month, but house protests have been common in the city over the past year, with many actions carried out by progressive movements. In December of 2020, protesters in the movement for Black lives mobilized outside of Garcetti’s home for two consecutive weeks before being violently repressed by police. In March of 2020, progressive housing organization Los Angeles Tenants Union held a car caravan outside the mayor’s residence. Following a protest against homeless encampment sweeps back in July, Garcetti’s home was painted with graffiti and covered with toilet paper by protesters.
As the people mobilize in greater numbers in response to the escalating crises of imperialism, protests targeting the homes of elected officials and ruling-class figures across the US have generally increased as a means to directly confront oppressive figures. With government buildings like the Los Angeles City Hall closed off to the public due to pandemic restrictions, politicians have held virtual meetings from the comfort of their homes, giving them more incentive to extend the imperialist state’s protection of their residences.
The bill seeks to ensure that any protest aimed at representatives of the ruling class can be restricted further and to bring harsher repression of the people—it is specifically designed to protect enemies of the people first and foremost.
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