“Storming the Gates” New Orleans Protesters Sprayed and Tased
Update: The city council passed the vote - unanimously approving the demolition 7 -0. Things are getting ugly in New Orleans. The city wants to demolish the only home some people have.
ORLEANS — Police used chemical spray and stun devices as dozens of
protesters seeking to halt the demolition of public housing in New
Orleans tried to force their way through an iron gate at City Hall.
Some people were arrested as officers tried to establish order and
an ambulance arrived on the scene. It was unclear whether there were
injuries or the ambulance was a precautionary measure.
The council chambers seat fewer than 300. Once capacity was reached,
people who were not permitted into chambers marched and chanted outside
and eventually violence broke out.
The clash happened at an iron gate that separates the council
chambers from City Hall grounds. On the grounds, more than 50 had been
chanting, calling for the council to reject plans by the Department of
Housing and Urban development to demolish the housing projects.
Then, protesters tried to storm the gate with a few able to squeeze
through a narrow opening before police began using the spray and stun
A woman identified by bystanders as Jamie Bork Laughner, was sprayed and dragged away from the gates.
A city council meeting where the fate of several New Orleans housing projects was to be decided was delayed several times due to shouting matches and skirmishes that have broken out inside of the chamber. The meeting began about an hour late with a long reading of rules to the public about how the council meeting to proceed.
Eyewitness News reporter Jonathan Betz reports that SWAT teams and vans with riot gear have been sent to City Hall in case they are needed.
Security had to physically restrain several protesters and housing demonstrators complained that several people trying to get in the meeting were prevented from doing so.