A handful of far-right protesters walked into Sherman Oaks Martin Pollard Branch Library on Saturday afternoon and disrupted a drag queen reading.
Parents, teens and children gathered around as Pickle, a Los Angeles organizer of Drag Queen Story Hour, read from a book while dressed in drag.
The event was billed as an opportunity to “celebrate people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be their authentic selves,” according to a Los Angeles Public Library website post promoting it.
About 10 minutes into the reading, three protesters suddenly stood up from their seats.
“This is an abomination,” one man said in a video reviewed by The Times. “This is nightclub material.”
Another woman wearing a red “Make Men Lions Again” hat touched off heated exchanges by claiming the event was nothing short of “perversion” and “child abuse.”
“They were videotaping us and so several of us were videotaping them,” said an attendee, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. “They kept on yelling and screaming.”
A security guard told the protesters to leave the library to cheers of “bye” from the supportive crowd, but they refused to do so.
Police were called and asked about a possible trespassing arrest if the protesters did not leave the library, said Officer Norma Eisenman, an LAPD spokesperson. Two of the protesters had already left by the time police arrived.
No arrests were made.
The event concluded without further incident. Library staff asked those in attendance to exit out a back door.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman responded to the incident by releasing a statement Saturday night in which she alleged that protesters tried to prevent people from entering the library and engaged in hate speech during the event.
“Our office strongly condemns this action and the ongoing nationwide campaign to make children and adults feel afraid and unwelcome for being who they are,” Raman said in the statement. "We must continue to fight for the safety of the full spectrum of identities, gender, and expressions in Los Angeles and beyond."
Protesters uploaded footage of their disruption to a right-wing Instagram account where they also denied trying to block people from entering the library.
During a drag queen reading at the West Hollywood Library last weekend, a counter-protester punched a man who attempted to film the event with his phone from outside before briefly entering the premises.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.