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Dozens arrested after LAPD sends alert warning of unlawful assembly during Koreatown spa protests


By KABC Staff

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    LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Dozens were arrested and weapons were found scattered across the ground in Koreatown where dueling protests over transgender rights outside a local spa Saturday prompted police to send a mass alert warning of an unlawful assembly, with authorities sending a public safety alert to people in the area warning that those who did not disperse would face arrest.

LAPD said in a tweet around 3:15 p.m. that “several dozen” people were arrested after failing to leave the area, and “numerous weapons” were found.

Police also said smoke bombs and projectiles were thrown at officers.

The alert sent to cell phones of people who were in the area at the time stated that “the LAPD will arrest you if you do not leave the area immediately.”

The demonstrations, similar to previous incidents outside the Wi Spa in the 2700 block of Wilshire Boulevard, were apparently fueled by the spa’s policy, which accepts transgender customers.

A protest earlier this month was sparked by a viral video posted by a woman upset that a person who identified as female was allowed to disrobe in the women’s section of the spa.

Wi Spa defended its policy in a statement to Eyewitness News, which reads in part: “Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa. Wi Spa strives to meet the needs and safety of all of its customers, and does not tolerate harassment or lewd conduct by any customer, regardless of their sex, gender, or other characteristic.”

The spa added that it complies with California law, Civil Code section 51(b), which provides that “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”

The spa also referred to California Civil Code section 51 (e)(5), which states that: “‘Sex’ also includes, but is not limited to a person’s gender. ‘Gender’ means sex, and includes a person’s gender identity and gender expression. ‘Gender expression’ means a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s sex assigned at birth.”

“Thus, California law prohibits discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in business establishments,” the spa’s statement said.

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