On Tuesday afternoon, several hundred demonstrators voicing their outrage at the refusal of a grand jury to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown marched through south central Los Angeles.
The march was peaceful, but militant, shouting slogans such as “Justice for Mike Brown! Shut it down! Shut it down!” Arms interlocked, hey called to local residents: “Out of your house, and into the streets!”
The demonstration was one of several throughout the area on Tuesday, including one at UCLA. Los Angeles has thus far avoided the violence and looting that have rocked Ferguson, and which have appeared sporadically in other cities, particularly New York and Oakland. Activists have vowed to continue demonstrating; the goal seems to be largely to vent frustration at the Ferguson proceedings rather than to achieve specific demands.
Update (6:00 p.m. PDT): A part of the demonstration has broken away downtown and is attempting to block the 110 freeway near Figueroa St. Police cars are rolling slowly, and fitfully, through the throng of protestors, who are attempting to instigate confrontations by climbing atop the cars and claiming they were “assaulted.” Police appear to be acting with extreme restraint, reasoning with the demonstrators.
Crowd surrounds cop cars under 10 freeway on Jefferson ave screaming “no justice! No peace.” pic.twitter.com/ZTgjmEz3Ni
— Angel Jennings (@LATangel) November 26, 2014
Update (7:00 p.m. PDT): After a group of protestors attempted to block the 110 freeway, apparently jumping a fence to do so, they abandoned the effort upon being confronted by police and urged back by some fellow activists. The protest then turned back downtown towards LAPD headquarters, where it remained about 200 strong. Demonstrators continued chanting slogans at police and marching arm-in-arm.
Elsewhere in L.A., there was an “intersection lie-down” in Beverly Hills, and a protest at Santa Monica City Hall. Another protest is planned for the LAPD building on Wednesday at noon, and NBC reports that Oakland–which saw the most disorderly protests Monday–is also bracing for further protests in the coming days.
Update (8:00 p.m. PDT): Hundreds of protesters have reached the the downtown LAPD administration building. Police are standing outside the building in a straight line providing a demarcation for the protesters. Police are wearing helmets.
The demonstration has been loud but entirely peaceful so far. There are lots of police officers and many barricades. The barricades are low and would be easy for the crowd to jump over. (R. Wilde)
Update (8:05 p.m. PDT): Demonstrators in L.A. are facing off against police in riot gear, shouting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” (Brown was not shot in the back, or while his hands were raised in surrender, though many activists continue to claim that he was.) Some shout: “L-A-P-D, you can’t hide! We charge you with genocide!” and “Hey, pigs, what do you say? How many kids have you killed today?”
In Oakland, an American flag has reportedly been burned, and dozens arrested as demonstrators block the 580 freeway for the second night in a row.
43 people were arrested in Oakland after protests over the Michael Brown decision turned violent http://t.co/D11fCTDrud
— KTLA (@KTLA) November 26, 2014
— Vivian Ho (@VivianHo) November 26, 2014
Update (8:25 p.m. PDT): In a fascinating exchange, a group of protestors confront a black police officer and tell him he is being oppressed by his colleagues. He argues patiently with them, telling them color does not matter. They disagree, and tell him his race matters above all.
“You’re a black man. You will never reach the heights of a white officer.” “You’re just like me. You’re a black man. And when you take off your uniform, they will treat you as such….You are black. You will always be black. Never forget your own.” They applaud.
Update (9:25 p.m. PDT): Protesters have made their way on to the 110 freeway and stopped traffic in both directions. CHP are trying to corral them and get them to move off the roadway. As of now traffic is at a standstill.
Update (10:20 PDT): Freeway is reopened in both directions. Crowd has dispersed and fragmented mostly moving north on to overpass.
— Vivian Ho (@VivianHo) November 26, 2014
— Jeff Michael (@JeffMichaelNews) November 26, 2014
Images: Screenshot/Ustream (Brian Hayes)
Update (10:12 p.m. PDT): Fires and looting in Oakland.
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) November 26, 2014
— KTVU (@KTVU) November 26, 2014
Update (10:33 p.m. PDT): Protesters attack police cars.
Arrests have been made and at least one firearm was recovered after protesters started fires and began vandalizing police cars. #Oakland
— Josh Richman (@Josh_Richman) November 26, 2014
— CHP Oakland (@CHPoakland) November 26, 2014
Update (5:00 a.m.. PDT): The demonstrations ended in Los Angeles with dozens of arrests on the highway overpass and elsewhere. There was some property damage–largely, the Los Angeles Times reports, for the benefit of social media, where demonstrators competed to show their courage in confronting police:
“Half of this protest I feel like is baiting cops… sort of about proving who you are against the police,” said Wilder Bunke, 21, of Hollywood, who was critical of actions by some in the crowd. “The modern day “(expletive) the police” isn’t shooting a cop – it’s posting a picture of yourself posing with a cop car on Facebook or Twitter.”
In Oakland, peaceful protest became violent, the San Francisco Chronicle notes:
…the evening devolved into lawless rambling by mobs of protesters who lit debris and trash can fires, shattered windows on businesses, including a Mercedes car dealership, and threw bottles and bricks at police. They looted several businesses, including a T-Mobile store and a paint store as they traveled miles through the city.
Local residents were disgusted at the antics of people they described as habitual thugs:
Worried about two large fires in the street in front of his house on Telegraph Avenue, Patrick Taylor emerged with a fire extinguisher to douse them. As he sprayed, he vented his disgust with the chaos.
“I’ve lived in Oakland my whole life,” he fumed. “F– these mother–. It’s f– stupid, these out-of-town, lifelong activist whatevers.”
— alan wang (@AlanWangABC7) November 26, 2014
— alan wang (@AlanWangABC7) November 25, 2014
Additional images: Screenshot/Ustream (Brian Hayes)
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak