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Thousands of protesters converge on Mayor Garcetti’s residence, demand change

Protesters gather outside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's house.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

As police helicopters rumbled overhead, thousands of people gathered outside Mayor Eric Garcetti’s residence and chanted in vigorous opposition to his response so far to citywide protests.

Yet there was still time for a bit of self-care as they demanded justice for George Floyd and the many other black people killed at the hands of police.

In true Los Angeles fashion, the crowd performed some breathing and yoga.

“Inhale fully through your nose,” a person instructed, as the crowd did light stretching. “Exhale fully through your nose.”

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The dozens of protestors who remained past curfew chanted “George Floyd” and “defund police!” before moving south, where they were arrested for being out after 6 p.m.

To Whitney Peterson, 35, of Los Angeles, the chant was not a call for abolishing law enforcement but limiting it and steering resources elsewhere.

“These communities are not being protected — and that needs to change,” she said.

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Peterson said she she was protesting out of frustration: “It’s hard seeing police brutality over and over again and nothing changing, and I’m here to fight for that change.”

Derrika Mayweather, 27, of downtown Los Angeles said she came “because black people deserve to be treated fairly. I’m sick of my sisters and brothers dying of unnecessary murder.”

She added: “I’m hoping that these protests and all the momentum will change.”

The choice of venue — outside the mayor’s official residence, in one of L.A.’s toniest neighborhoods, was powerful to several protesters.

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“Black Lives Matter started this, and the steps they take are very thought-out,” Mayweather said. “It was a good idea to bring the issues to the front door.”

She planned to leave at 6 p.m. to abide by the curfew.

“It’s very peaceful. There’s no looting. Everyone is making their presence known and that’s what I love.”

One of the demonstrators, who gave only his first name, Fernando, said he chose to join the protest outside the mayor’s house to send a message.

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“It’s personal to everyone, and the people running this city and this country need to know this,” he said. “This is my second protest today, and the consistency is what I appreciate.”

Gesturing to a crowd gathered with signs, he added: “People are safe and peaceful and consistent — because this has to go on.”

The protest eventually moved on to Wilshire Boulevard, shutting down traffic. After marching through Hancock Park, a leafy neighborhood of multimillion-dollar mansions, the cheers turned toward economic inequity.

“Tax the rich!” several protesters jeered.

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After a brief standoff with a phalanx of officers on Wilshire Boulevard, the demonstrators turned onto a side street but were eventually hemmed in on 8th Street by police. There, officers began arresting more than 100 demonstrators, cuffing them with plastic bands and — after several hours — escorting them onto buses.


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