National Guard monitors L.A. City Hall as downtown shops clean up

In a stark symbol of tensions rippling through parts of Los Angeles, National Guard troops stood with Los Angeles Police Department officers on the steps of City Hall on Sunday to protect the landmark.

About 100 demonstrators had gathered in Grand Park, after a demonstration earlier in the day at Pershing Square.

Downtown was hit by protests and looting Friday night and Saturday morning. On Saturday night, some businesses saw more looting.

On Sunday, many merchants were still cleaning up.

When Maria Alvarado, 38, store manager of Fallas along West 5th Street, came into work this morning, she knew she had her work cut out for her.

Merchandise racks and clothing lined the floor, cash registers were toppled over and broken, and windows were shattered. Alvarado said rioters also attempted to start a fire in the store, as evidenced by the aftermath.

“The riots are concerning because they’re hurting us too,” Alvarado said. “Our workers are having their hours cut, and the stolen merchandise is costly. After reopening the store we had three good days of business, but then this happened.”

With escalating concerns of riots and COVID-19, Alvarado said she was concerned for the financial stability of her business.

Along West 4th Street nearby, Chris Andino of North Hollywood had been boarding up businesses since 3 a.m. as rioters began to clear out of the area. Andino maneuvered around broken window and mirrors to the building’s gym.

In every corridor by Pershing Square, pedestrians walked around, but businesses were all boarded up. Neighborhood resident Kelzy David, a 25-year-old physical therapy assistant, had a hard time sleeping as helicopters and rioters filled Pershing Garden.

“It’s hard seeing our neighborhood like this,” David said. “But the graffiti and broken windows, they’re all part of the cause, and I support it.”

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