Transit officials expected the 101 Freeway — a key thoroughfare in metropolitan Los Angeles — to remain closed until at least 3 a.m. or longer, according to a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol.
In the loud and aggressive demonstration, many chanted, “Not my president,” and “Respect all women.” The mostly young crowd marched through the city before heading onto the freeway near Alameda Street.
The pack of hundreds — many screaming against both Trump and law enforcement, others riding skateboards on the freeway — caused a traffic backup that extended for miles.
At least 13 people were arrested, LAPD Officer Tony Im said.
By 12:45 p.m., police had cleared the freeway of protesters, but about 100 people were milling about on adjacent city streets. The LAPD had issued a dispersal order near Los Angeles and Aliso streets, where demonstrators remained, many lifting their arms up as lines of LAPD officers looked on.
Still, the 101 Freeway remained closed, with northbound lanes closed at Vignes Street and southbound lanes being diverted onto the 110 Freeway, according to CHP Officer Elizabeth Kravig.
Before the freeway would reopen, road crews had to remove debris and make repairs, she said. Officials estimated the freeway would reopen between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.
Earlier Wednesday, after the crowd had stormed the freeway about 10 p.m., officers from the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department, some clad in riot gear, mounted a massive response.
Police urged demonstrators to leave, but the crowd stubbornly remained, waving flags of the U.S. and Mexico and chanting, “Hands up; don’t shoot.”
At one point, police appeared to be in a standoff with demonstrators. The crowd, at that point confined to a freeway on-ramp, mostly raised their arms, but the tone of defiance ebbed, and the protesters headed toward the city streets.
As the demonstrations got underway Wednesday evening, some demonstrators in front of City Hall torched a giant Trump head in effigy, which sent ashes raining. Marchers spray painted profanity-laced screeds on TV news vans and the Los Angeles Times building. Fireworks were also shot off near the LAPD’s headquarters.
Among the demonstrators’ chief complaints: what they perceive as Trump’s racist and misogynistic rhetoric while campaigning for the presidency.
Jose Figueroa, 25, dismissed Trump as a “racist and a rapist.”
Figueroa acknowledged that Trump was chosen in a legitimate election. But he protested the Republican’s rise, contending it stemmed from racism and diverged from the values of the American people.
“He won fairly,” Figueroa said. “But there’s a lot of violence that could come to a lot of people.”
Up to 200 people also crowded onto the northbound lanes of the 110 Freeway near 3rd Street in downtown L.A., forcing California Highway Patrol officers to bring traffic to a stop for about 15 minutes, said Kravig, the CHP spokeswman. No southbound lanes were affected, she said.
Vishal Singh, 23, said he was shocked as Trump’s upset victory and he expressed disappointment with voters who supported a man he sees as anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT.
“I expected better of my electorate,” he said. “I thought this country was different.”
Tina Sapsizian, 23, of Long Beach, attributed the large crowd to the belief that Hillary Clinton would rout Trump after his many stumbles toward the end of the campaign.
Trump’s victory, she said, highlights the divide between big cities and the rest of the nation.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” Sapsizian said. “We’re all surprised, and we’re all human.”
The group was a mix of crowds that marched to City Hall from Pershing Square and Staples Center. Their signs stated, “Make America Love Again,” and “Love Trumps Hate.” Others said, “Wall Street Is the Enemy.”
The protests mirrored demonstrations that erupted across the nation on Wednesday, when crowds on college campuses and in cities rallied against Trump’s upset victory over Clinton.