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Dueling pro- and anti-transgender-rights protests outside a Los Angeles spa turned violent Saturday, resulting in projectiles thrown, cops firing rubber bullets, and more than a dozen arrests, according to a report.
The Wi Spa in Koreatown had also been the site of clashes earlier this month, during protests over a viral video that appeared to show a customer complaining that a transgender woman had exposed herself in front of children.
On Saturday morning, LGBTQ activists assembled in front of the spa to counter-demonstrators who had gathered there to oppose transgender people patronizing the business, The LA Times reported.
Those protesting the spa’s policy waved signs saying “Save our children” and “Stop defending pedos,” the report said.
An unlawful assembly was declared by police after members of the crowd threw projectiles, including some that were aimed at cops, according to the report.
Footage posted to social media showed police in riot gear shooting bean bags and rubber bullets at demonstrators.
“Most people did leave the area, but currently there are a number of arrests made for failure to disperse,” LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar told the newspaper, which reported that no one was injured.
A reporter for The Guardian who was covering the protest said that she was attacked by demonstrators that were screaming about Jesus.
“Just got thrown to the ground by right-wing anti-pedophile protesters as a crowd converged on me and chased me,” Lois Beckett tweeted.
The dueling demonstrations seem to have been spurred by the same June 24 Instagram video that sparked the violent protests outside the spa on July 3.
“He is a man,” an irate woman told staff in the clip. “He is not a female. There are girls down there, other women who are highly offended by what they just saw and you did nothing. You sided with him.”
Questions have since been raised about the veracity of the clip, according to The Los Angeles Blade, a local LGBT newspaper.
Law enforcement sources told the outlet they were not able to find evidence to confirm that a transgender person had indeed been present at the business that day, leading to concerns the video was staged.
“I am recording this because I’m going to make a big deal, I’m going to take this worldwide,” the complaining woman in the video is heard promising.
The spa defended its practices in a statement to Los Angeles Magazine.
“Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa,” the statement read. “Wi Spa strives to meet the needs of all its customers.”
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