ECHO PARK, Calif. — Echo Park local Nancy Ocho said she is not happy with activists who are critical of the way the recent police sweeps removed Echo Park's homeless encampments.
Organizations like Street Watch Los Angeles and Operation Project met at the now-gated and closed Echo Park Lake to memorialize the homeless communities that were forced to leave at the end of March.
What You Need To Know
- Echo Park Lake recently closed after a police sweep removed growing homeless encampments
- Activists returned to the now-closed park to express disapproval for the way the situation was handled, calling on "services, not sweeps"
- One Echo Park resident was upset with the activists, saying they were making the problem worse because the encampment had been endangering the locals
- Nancy Ocho says she and her family have been attacked by the homeless encampment during attempted walks around the park
But Ocho explained that while she has compassion for those struggling with homelessness, she believes the move by the police was the only option to keep Echo Park residents safe.
"I call them out and I call them fake activists because you can’t say you care about Echo Park and you care about people while you’re protecting the encampment here," she said. "There’s been a lot of rape, violence, drug abuse, deaths. The families here can no longer enjoy the park.”
Ocho explained her perspective as an Echo Park resident to an activist, saying she can't bring her children to the only park near them due to exposure to drug paraphernalia and previous violent encounters.
"A lot of the community here lives in apartment buildings, so there’s no green space for the children to play," said Ocho.
Meanwhile, Naomi — a volunteer with Street Watch LA — noted that evicting the homeless community in the midst of a pandemic is illegal and inhumane.
"LA is not working hard enough to provide actual, real housing for unhoused people," she said. "And until we have enough housing to give people the apartments they want and that they deserve, we shouldn’t be evicting people from a public park, a park that’s for everyone."
Activists brought their children to the cause and displayed their disapproval towards Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. Ocho, on the other hand, explained how she feels unheard, having dealt with the consequences of the encampment firsthand.
"We’re really affected by this," she said. "We’re dealing with this. We’ve been attacked. They don’t hear us. They don’t have sympathy. They don’t hear our outrage, our pain."
The park continues to be closed until further notice.