Protesters and activists who want buildings in the Duranguito neighborhood preserved clashed with El Paso police officers Tuesday afternoon.
ABC-7's Mauricio Casillas reports the protesters appeared to be upset over fencing around properties in the neighborhood where the City of El Paso plans to build a multi-purpose performing arts facility.
Dr. David Romo, with Paso del Sur, a group fighting to preserve the neighborhood, told ABC-7 the problems began when contractors with a fencing company showed up to reinstall fencing around some of the properties.
Police officers intervened when a group of protesters attempted to remove fencing. No major injuries were reported during the scuffle. ABC-7 is working to confirm if protesters were taken into custody.
Protesters chanted "do your job" as they pushed back against police officers. The officers arrived at the neighborhood Tuesday morning after a demolition crew attempted to demolish several buildings in the neighborhood.
The crew damaged walls in at least five of the eight properties before an attorney for Historian Max Grossman, Lisa Hobbs, showed up with a cease and desist order in hand.
Property owners have obtained demolition permits for eight properties within the arena footprint. Monday, the 8th Court of Appeals granted Grossman an emergency cease and desist order postponing any demolition until a judge makes a ruling. Grossman is leading the effort to preserve the buildings in the neighborhood.
The City of El Paso was ordered to cease and desist all efforts to demolish or remove people from the following properties:
- 215 W. Paisano
- 216 W. Overland
- 220 W. Overland
- 308 Chihuahua
- 309 Chihuahua
- 312 Chihuahua
- 315 Chihuahua
Historians say three of the eight properties scheduled for demolition in the arena footprint's area could qualify to be on the National Register. The City argues there is no historic designation in the area, and with all paperwork in order, if the owners want to demolish the properties, they can.
The City emailed ABC-7 a statement saying it does not own any of the properties in question. It also said it reached out to the attorney representing the private property owners to ask they obey the 8th Court of Appeals' cease and desist order.