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LA vows clampdown after Zimmerman-linked violence

Los Angeles' police chief vowed Tuesday to clamp down harder on protests over the Trayvon Martin trial, after 14 people were arrested on a second night of violence.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) chief Charlie Beck said his officers would not allow a repeat of Monday night, when protestors jumped on cars, damaged shops and attacked bystanders.

"We cannot allow a small group of individuals to not only damage ... and strike fear the community, but also to destroy the message of so many in the community," he said.

Police gave "a lot of leeway" to demonstrators Monday evening to allow them freedom of speech, he said. "Unfortunately we won't be able to do that tonight because of the circumstances of last night."

Of the 14 arrested, seven adults and six juveniles were suspected of failing to disperse and one was suspected of inciting a riot, said LAPD spokesman Gus Villanueva. Firefighters had to extinguish several small fires and responded to a couple of minor injuries, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said.

On Sunday eight people were arrested, including at a protest outside the CNN building in Hollywood, over the acquittal at trial of volunteer neighborhood watch guard George Zimmerman.

Then late Monday 14 people were arrested after businesses including a Wal-Mart store were damaged as some 150 people "sought to exploit" Zimmerman being cleared of murdering black teen Martin, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The protesters skirmished with police along several streets in the Crenshaw District in southwestern Los Angeles. The Wal-Mart store was damaged, and a restaurant window smashed, local media reported.

Los Angeles is ever mindful of the deadly April 1992 riots in the city, which erupted after the acquittal of four white police officers over the notorious 1991 beating of Rodney King.

The Martin case pitted people who thought Zimmerman, 29, -- son of a white father and a Peruvian mother -- killed Martin, 17, in self-defense last February, against others who considered it a racially-motivated killing.

Garcetti condemned the protestors at a press conference late Monday.

"The trial that we saw in Florida has ignited passions, but we have to make sure that it will not ignite this city and we see a small group that has taken this opportunity to exploit this situation," he said.

"The Martin family was very clear that those who sympathize with their plight, the best way to honor their son and their loved one is in a nonviolent manner."

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