Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti faced a series of protesters and was forced to exit while attempting to deliver a speech Monday at the University of Southern California, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Garcetti was scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but after about a minute into the speech, protesters railed against his handling of homelessness and Los Angeles Police Department's use of force, the report said.
The Los Angeles Community Action Network and the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America organized the demonstration, the paper reported.
Steve Diaz, an organizer with Los Angeles Community Action Network, told The Times that his group wants housing for the homeless to be built faster, and for the city to stop the police sweeps of homeless camps.
One demonstrator stood up and accused the city of trashing the belongings of the homeless during tent sweeps, the paper reported. Another protester shouted that Los Angeles is a city "where real estate interests displace entire communities of color," according to The Times.
Some USC students showed support for Garcetti, clapping for him when he tried to respond to the demonstrators, the report said. They also gave him a standing ovation as he exited the stage.
The mayor reportedly left the stage after nearly 20 minutes, as an event organizer thanked him.
Alex Comisar, spokesman for Garcetti, told the paper that the event was “unfortunate” that a “very small group of people denied the audience an opportunity to hear [Garcetti’s] remarks — but he respects the 1st Amendment rights of all people who want to make their voices heard on issues that they care deeply about.”
The event's audience had about 350 people at USC's Bovard Auditorium, the report said.