Several arrested at transgender rights protest outside Los Angeles spa, authorities say

LOS ANGELES — Authorities made several arrests on Saturday after a dueling protest over transgender rights outside a Los Angeles spa turned violent.

The protests stemmed after a customer posted a video to Instagram of her complaining about a transgender woman’s genitalia in the women’s section of the spa. The video sparked controversy after the spa defended its policy of allowing transgender customers in its facilities, the Los Angeles Times reported.

At about 11 a.m., the police declared an unlawful assembly when demonstrators against transgender access to the spa’s facilities clashed with counter protesters. According to LAPD spokesperson Det. Meghan Aguilar, some in the crowd threw smoke bombs and other objects at the officers.

An emergency alert sent out to Angelenos in the area stated that “the LAPD will arrest you if you do not leave the area immediately.”

In a statement to Los Angeles Magazine about the video, Wi Spa stood behind a California Civil Code which makes discrimination against trans and nonbinary customers illegal.

Police in Los Angeles declared an unlawful assembly and fired non-lethal projectiles to disperse an unruly crowd on Saturday after a dueling protest over transgender rights at Wi Spa in Koreatown turned violent.

Police in Los Angeles declared an unlawful assembly and fired non-lethal projectiles to disperse an unruly crowd on Saturday after a dueling protest over transgender rights at Wi Spa in Koreatown turned violent.

“Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa,” the statement said. “Wi Spa strives to meet the needs of all its customers.”

Far-right protesters ordered a boycott of the spa and chanted baseless claims of pedophilia, The Guardian reported. People carried signs calling to “protect female spaces,” a common demand amongst anti-trans groups claiming transgender women endanger cisgender women, according to the Guardian.

Photos and videos posted to Twitter reflected police beating protesters with batons and firing bean bag rounds and other projectiles. At one point, a woman was hit in the abdomen, causing her to fall to the ground.

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In May, a federal judge extended an order restricting the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of hard-foam projectiles at protests, an injuction that had been requested by protests groups suing the city, according to the Times.

Several dozen people were arrested for ignoring orders to disperse, and police found stun guns, knives and pepper spray discarded on the street, police later said.

Aguilar didn’t have an immediate arrest count because authorities were still processing the people who were arrested and screening to see if anyone needed medical treatment.

She said no officer was injured and no protester was transported to hospitals.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Los Angeles protest over trans rights results in arrests at local spa

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