Police wearing riot gear moved into an urban Los Angeles community garden on Tuesday to evict tree-sitting celebrity Darryl Hannah, along with other campaigners trying to save it from destruction.
At least 25 immigrant farmers and their supporters were arrested on trespass charges, police said, but Hannah, an actress best known for playing a mermaid in "Splash," remained perched 40 feet up a walnut tree in the 14-acre (5.7-hectare) fruit and vegetable garden in gritty south Los Angeles.
In the past three weeks, folk singer Joan Baez and anti-logging activist Julia "Butterfly" Hill have taken shifts in the tree, while country singer Willie Nelson has also dropped by, but none of them were in the garden when some 65 police showed up without notice at daybreak.
Los Angeles Sheriff's spokeswoman Kerri Webb said some protesters chained themselves to picnic tables and concrete barrels to resist eviction from the garden, which the owner of the land wants to dig up and replace with a warehouse.
The garden has been tended by some 350 people for about 10 years while a struggle over the ownership of the land went through the courts. The developer offered to sell the land to the farmers for $16 million but supporters been able to raise only about half that sum.
Dozens of supporters blew whistles, chanted in Spanish or sat down in the streets outside as news of the eviction spread through the neighborhood. Several were arrested for blocking street intersections, police said.
Hannah has been living in the tree for three weeks. She told reporters that she planned to resist arrest by peaceful means. "I'm planning to hold my position," she told FOX11 TV news.
Bulldozers were brought in and a fire ladder was raised to the tree tops where Hannah and three other people were thought to be holding out.
Police said property owner Ralph Horowitz had obtained an eviction order last month and had decided to execute it.
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