LAPD declares unlawful assembly at Wi Spa following a second round of protests over transgender rights

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LAPD declares unlawful assembly at Wi Spa following a second round of protests over transgender rights
This July 4, 2021, photo, shows the exterior of the Wi Spa in Koreatown district in Los Angeles. Police declared an unlawful assembly and fired non-lethal projectiles to disperse an unruly crowd on Saturday, July 17, after a dueling protest over transgender rights at the Los Angeles spa turned violent. The protests stemmed from a video that circulated online earlier this month, in which an irate customer complained to the staff at Wi Spa that a transgender woman was in the women's section of the spa. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
  • Several protests have occurred since a woman complained about a trans woman undressing in the same room as her at a Los Angeles spa.
  • The first protest occurred on Saturday, July 2, when protestors clashed outside Wi Spa in Koreatown.
  • Police declared an unlawful assembly during the second series of protests on Saturday, July 17.

A second series of dueling transgender rights protests occurred outside of Wi Spa in Los Angeles early Saturday, which ended when the Los Angeles Police Department declared an unlawful assembly around noon.

Several dozen people were arrested at a counterprotest in response to a right-wing group protesting against transgender individuals' ability to access the spa, according to reports from police and tweets from attendees.

LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar told the L.A. Times that authorities declared the unlawful assembly after protesters began throwing projectiles, including at officers. Twitter videos showed police shooting bean bag rounds and 40-millimeter hard-foam projectiles at protesters.

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Police formed a line between the two groups, according to Beverly Hills Courier reporter Samuel Braslow.

Individuals who did not leave were kettled and arrested by LAPD officers.

The protests were incited by an Instagram video posted by a Wi Spa customer in late June. In the video, an anonymous woman confronts Wi Spa staff about a trans woman's presence in one of the spa's areas.

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In a statement to Los Angeles Magazine, Wi Spa outlined California state law that protects transgender people from discrimination at private businesses.

"Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa," Wi Spa told Los Angeles Magazine. "Wi Spa strives to meet the needs of all its customers."

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