Los Angeles. Peaceful protests continued in the L.A. area on the weekend of June 6th and 7th, re-writing history as diversified masses have taken to the streets in solidarity with Black Lives Matter demanding justice for the death of George Floyd, the police to be defunded, the resignation of Mayor Garcetti and LAPD Chief Michel Moore. The biggest protest took place in Hollywood on Sunday as some 20,000 people marched.
The nationwide protests are making history, surpassing those of the civil rights movements in the 60s. People of all races are demanding the demilitarization of police departments. The movement has gained support from around the world. In Los Angeles, protests have also taken place in affluent neighborhoods usually not characterized by police brutality issues. Protesters have showed in West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and the Fairfax District among others.
The Los Angeles Police Department has met the protesters and members of the press with more than harsh tactics such as rubber bullets, batons and tear gas. Small groups of agitators caused some looting in the prior days of the protests; some say they did it to discredit the peaceful protesters.
During last week’s first virtual town hall, residents demanded the resignation of Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Michel Moore over the harsh and violent treatment of demonstrators. The mayor announced days later that he was “diverting $150 million dollars from the LAPD budget” to go to youth and community programs. Critics see it as an attempt to appease the calls for his resignation and that of the police Chief.
“Seeing the images of that 75-year-old man being thrown to the ground [in Buffalo, NY], walked over as he bled on the concrete made me come out to protest today”. 52-year-old Donna, a white resident from the L.A. County area.
“I remember my dad telling me that my grandmother protested with her church during the civil rights movement; I want to tell my grand-kids [who are part Latinas], that I did something about it”. She added. Donna was one of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators outside City Hall on Saturday.
The diversity of the people and the neighborhoods is a blunt contrast from the 1992 ‘Rodney King Riots’ that took place in mainly poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the fact that back then, the protesters were mainly minorities who were met with brutal force by both the LAPD and The National Guard. Some say the wounds from that brutality are still too raw to be reopened by The National Guard.
The support from whiter, richer cities is historical, proving that the outrage from police brutality has touched people of all walks of life.
Black Lives Matter from Los Angeles took to Twitter to denounce that the proposals from Mayor Garcetti are not enough.
The @MayorOfLA’s proposed LAPD budget cut is not enough! It’s a sad attempt to pretend as if he’s doing something. This would leave LAPD w/over half of the city’s unrestricted funds. This is unacceptable!!! #DefundThePolice.
— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) June 8, 2020
“I came to protest after seeing online all the police brutality against the protesters, I want to make change because black lives matter, I want my voice to be heard for them, for us.” 22-year-old Victoria from Palmdale. She added, “As for the police, I still don’t trust them.”
“We are protesting George Floyd’s death but it goes beyond that… we are protesting the systemic racism, brutality and racial profiling of all Los Angeles area law enforcement, the discrimination of our LGBT community, the lack of youth programs and jobs in the poor neighborhoods, I may not be from those neighborhoods, but I stand here today in solidarity.” A demonstrator at Saturday’s protest at The City Hall on Saturday was telling the crowd through a loudspeaker.
Nationwide protests continue as people demand for police defunding and for political leaders to take a stand against ‘the virus of racism and police brutality’.
Former candidates such as Julián Castro, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders have been vocal on Twitter against the brutality. Meanwhile, president Trump has slammed Democrat Governors for “not being tough enough on protesters”.
Mayor Garcetti did not respond for comments.