A homeless man apparently entered a vacant Ritz-Carlton hotel room in downtown Los Angeles Friday in protest, demanding that the hotel and city allow unhoused Angelenos to stay in its empty rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democratic Socialists of America staged a protest Friday afternoon outside the Ritz-Carlton's downtown location, at 900 W. Olympic Blvd., demanding that Mayor Eric Garcetti "commandeer" hotels, according to DSA's Los Angeles chapter.
City News Service reached out to the mayor's office but a response was not immediately forthcoming.
The protester, who DSA-LA identified as Davon Brown, entered one of the vacant rooms to claim it for himself during the pandemic, according to DSA's Street Watch LA, which seeks to "empower and protect the rights of poor and unhoused people across LA County."
The group posted a photo to Twitter showing the statement "Death by LAPD - Charly Africa or COVID No Vacancy" written in red and black paint across the hotel room's white bedding. The statement references the fatal, 2015 officer-involved shooting of Charley Leundeu Keunang, a homeless man in Skid Row.
Protesters were filmed outside the hotel wearing protective masks and holding signs that read "Garcetti is a coward! Vacant hotels = death" and "Mayor Garcetti: Commandeer this vacant hotel for the unhoused now."
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Community Station were responding to the hotel Friday afternoon, but further information was not immediately available from the station's watch commander. As of 4 p.m., no arrests had been made from any of Friday's protests in Los Angeles, according to the LAPD.
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The Ritz-Carlton could not immediately be reached for comment.
Housing protests were also staged outside Garcetti's official residence.