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Protests return as L.A. votes on encampment ban near schools

Protesters returned to downtown Los Angeles Tuesday morning as the City Council prepared to take its final vote on a homeless encampment ban near schools and day care centers.

Currently, camps are banned within 500 feet of facilities deemed sensitive, such as schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries but only if those areas have been designated for enforcement.

Tuesday’s vote would mean a blanket ban on encampments within 500 feet of every private school and day care centers in the city.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside of City Hall Tuesday to voice their concerns.

“What do we want? No forty-one eighteen,” the crowd, which held signs like “Abolish 41.18,” chanted.

Some say the law, known as 41.18, doesn’t solve the problem of homelessness, but instead criminalizes poverty.

“I would like to see the City Council recognize the scope of the unhoused residents in this city and look at proposing mental health care and services … rather than sweeps,” San Pedro resident Chris Venn said.

Many protesters could be seen inside the council chambers ahead of Tuesday’s vote. They were eventually escorted out, leaving only the media and city council members inside.

One person was arrested, Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson Hernandez said. It was unclear what the person was doing that prompted the arrest, however.

Last week, police had to clear out the chambers because protesters kept interrupting the meeting.

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