Photos: Protesters Rally Against George Zimmerman Acquittal, Shut Down Metro
Last night there were protests in the country against a jury's decision to acquit George Zimmerman of murder or even manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
There were scattered, mostly peaceful protests and vigils around Los Angeles overnight in the hours after the verdict was announced, and there are expected to be more today. Protesters challenged Zimmerman's claim that he shot Martin, an unarmed African-American teen, in self-defense. They complain that the justice system is rigged against the young black male. They're also calling for the repeal of Florida's far-reaching self-defense laws.
Last night about 100 protesters—many whom had been associated with Occupy L.A.—staged a demonstration between the Exposition Line Metro stops at Western Avenue and Farmdale Avenue, according to City News Service and reports on Twitter. By about 2 a.m., Metro reported that service was back to normal.
Just a little further south, there were about 50 to 100 demonstrators marching along Crenshaw Boulevard between 43rd and Stocker streets. At one point, police say that protesters were running in between cars but police convinced them to stop without incident, according to City News Service.
One of the larger gatherings was a vigil at Leimert Park near Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue.
Late Saturday evening, the Los Angeles Police Department called for a Citywide Tactical Alert in response to the protests. Police officers showed up to protests and vigils in riot gear, and helicopters hovered overheard at the protests largely south of the 10 Freeway. There were no arrests reported. By about 1 a.m., the Tactical Alert was scaled back only to the South Bureau, and that was completely canceled around 2:30 a.m., Lt. Andy Neiman told CNS.
The Facebook page for Occupy Los Angeles has posted a number of protests going on around the city today:
Leimert Park, 4395 Leimert Blvd, Los Angeles at 1 p.m.
Crenshaw Blvd and Martin Luther King Blvd., Los Angeles at 4 p.m.
Mariachi Plaza, 1st Street and Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles at 5 p.m.
Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope said there will be another protest at Leimert Park on Monday at 6 p.m.
UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: The protests weren't entirely peaceful. Police claimed that protestors at the intersection of the 10 Freeway and Crenshaw Boulevard were throwing objects at police officers on bikes. They said that they gave an order to disperse that was ignored before firing rounds of bean bags into the crowd. KNX reporter Claudia Peschiutta was at the scene says she was hit by a bean bag, although she never heard the order to disperse:
Police say there was dispersal order. I got to scene several minutes before rubber bullets were fired & heard no order before getting hit.— Claudia Peschiutta (@ReporterClaudia) July 14, 2013
Someone asked me how what happened overnight compares to the May Day melee at MacArthur Park. They're totally different situations...— Claudia Peschiutta (@ReporterClaudia) July 14, 2013
I was not wearing my press pass & did not ID myself as a reporter so it does not appear I was in any way targeted as a member of the press.— Claudia Peschiutta (@ReporterClaudia) July 14, 2013
Peschiutta said that police appeared to be firing at some people fleeing the scene, but it's not clear if any protesters were hit.Related:
Florida Jury: George Zimmerman Not Guilty In Death of Trayvon Martin
Justice For Trayvon: Rallies In S.F. And Oakland To Protest Zimmerman Verdict