More than 300 people gathered Saturday at La Palma Park in Anaheim before marching to Anaheim Police Department Headquarters, seeking an end to what is seen as systemic racism in policing.
It was one of several demonstrations in Orange and Los Angeles counties in the third weekend since nationwide protests began over the Memorial Day death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
The park has served as a gathering spot for the recent protests in Anaheim.
More than 100 people have gathered at La Palma Park in Anaheim. A pro-black life, anti-police brutality/systemic racism demonstration is about to start. pic.twitter.com/cs6UVwf2wv
— Ian Wheeler (@iwhlr) June 13, 2020
On June 1, a week after Floyd’s death, several hundred came to the park — many listened to speakers describe experiences of police brutality. Later that day, protesters from the park joined with others around the city and walked Anaheim’s downtown. Police declared an unlawful assembly as night fell, shooting rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
Saturday’s protest remained peaceful as of 4 p.m. At the park, speakers recounted personal experiences of racism. They took a knee and raised their fists in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, representing the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Just after 3 p.m, the crowd began to march south on Harbor Boulevard, holding signs and chanting “No Justice, no peace! No racist police!”
They marched more than a mile before briefly stopping at police headquarters, where a few officers guarded the entrance, while others on motorcycles diverted traffic around the march. A few protesters directed their speech directly at the nearby officers before the crowd resumed marching eastbound on Santa Ana Street.
Demonstrators are marching again, headed east on Santa Ana Street. Chants of: “Black lives matter!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” pic.twitter.com/H4DsvZgLkW
— Ian Wheeler (@iwhlr) June 13, 2020
Kason Clark, of Fullerton, said he was tired of watching the protests from home and felt he needed to join in and help keep the momentum going.
Clark said he was encouraged by some developments as a result of the protests — that the officers involved in Floyd’s death were arrested and charged, but there is more to do in the fight against systemic racism.
“There has been some reform and some change, but the important thing is not to let up … To keep telling people in charge that we want change,” he said.
City officials expected two protests in Anaheim on Saturday, with another planned near City Hall at 4 p.m. Officials tweeted, “We expect both to be peaceful and welcome peaceful expression. If you don’t plan to join, you might avoid the areas for your own convenience.”
We are preparing for two demonstrations today: 2 p.m., La Palma Park; 4 p.m., Harbor and Broadway. We expect both to be peaceful and welcome peaceful expression. If you don’t plan to join, you might avoid the areas for your own convenience. #protest2020 pic.twitter.com/1QugCsBVXD
— City of Anaheim (@City_of_Anaheim) June 13, 2020
Hundreds also gathered at a pair of protests in Irvine, the first of which involved faith, city and law enforcement leaders who gathered with several hundred protesters at Christ Our Redeemer Church and embarked on a three-mile march Saturday morning.
By early afternoon, another protest, organized by Youth for Justice, had begun outside City Hall. Both protests were peaceful.
Reporter Nathaniel Percy contributed to this report.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
Source: Orange County Register