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The city of Los Angeles allegedly kicked homeless people out of an encampment next to this year’s Academy Awards venue to present a glitzy “image” while in the national spotlight, according to a report Sunday.
Scores of homeless people — many living in tents near the Union Station building in Downtown L.A. — were allegedly threatened and ordered to leave in the days leading up to the star-studded event, according FOX 11 Los Angeles.
“They came to us about a week ago saying that we had to move by Friday 6 p.m. because they were trying to clean up for the Oscars,” a homeless man identified a DJ told the station. “They told us if we didn’t move, they were gonna just demolish our stuff and [that] if you have warrants we’re gonna take you to jail.”
Some homeless folks were relocated to a nearby hotel in an effort to clean up the area’s look before Tinseltown A-listers flock to the 93rd Annual Academy Awards, which will be held Sunday at Union Station.
“They were coming and harassing us three or four times a day…They forced us to go to the Grand Hotel on 3rd and Figueroa and they kicked everybody out of Union Station so it looks better for the image.”
DJ had been living on a 101 freeway overpass, one block away from Union Station — an area that for months has been plagued by homelessness, according to the station.
Homeless rights activists said the city has a history of sweeping the problem under the rug.
“I was taken aback by the [report] but we have a history in Los Angeles… That’s what’s led to a place called Skid Row,” Andy Bales, of the homeless advocacy group Union Rescue Mission, said of the city’s notoriously dilapidated and drug-ridden tent colony.
Bales said LA has been faking its glamorous image when at the center of major national events for decades, including when the Pope came to the city in 1987.
Organizers of the Academy Awards didn’t return FOX 11’s request for comment.
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