San Diego

Several Protesters Arrested at Otay Mesa Detention Center

Several protesters were arrested at the Otay Mesa Detention Center Saturday afternoon.

The people taken into custody were charged with unlawful assembly and assault when one of the protesters threw what looked like oranges or tangerines at a detention center employee's car as the employee was leaving work. Protesters also chained themselves to makeshift border walls and blocked the entry of detention center employees driving into work. 

The protesters, identified as Generation Justice and PICO California, say they don't want to let anyone working at the facility leave because they want them to feel what it's like being held prisoner against their will.

That's the objective of these protesters.

One of the guards who was leaving work was stopped and had to abandon his car. The California Highway Patrol escorted him back to the detention center. The guard had to take off his uniform and the protesters followed him all the way to the gate.

The protesters also chained themselves to a metal barricade for a make-shift wall. They said they will leave until there is a change in the Trump Administration zero-tolerance policy or they are arrested.

The policy directs the Justice Department to prosecute anyone caught entering the country illegally, which is a misdemeanor and often carries no jail sentence. 

Another group of protesters also showed up. They arrived from a protest at a federal building in Los Angeles. They were protesting at the entrance gate to the facility, away from the Generation Justice protesters.

A detainee inside the center told NBC 7 over the phone that the detainees were planning their own protest, but they were also threatened by the employees at the center to not cheer for the protesters outside. 

The detainee said they are on strike and will not do any work asked of them like cleaning and volunteer work going forward. She also said the detainees were kept inside because of the protests and were not allowed to watch the news. 

The woman said she has been in the country since she was seven, but got a DUI and was detained. 

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