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Anaheim protesters largely peaceful as they demand justice for George Floyd

Despite fears of rioting and violence, thousands of protesters marched largely peacefully through Anaheim Monday evening to protest the death of George Floyd.

Protesters gathered on the edge of La Palma Park at 4 p.m. and listened to community leaders of all ages as they demanded justice for Floyd and all those who have been unjustly killed by police.

“There’s a lot of people hoping you will lose your sanity,” said one speaker, promoting a peaceful march. “We are here to prove them wrong.”

At one point, protesters all knelt and raised their fists in solidarity.

Shea Quarles, 22, of Fullerton said she was physically sick when she watched the video of Floyd’s death. But, she said, the protest should be peaceful.

“We can’t fight hatred with hatred,” Quarles said.

Protesters held signs that read, “Good cops that don’t turn in bad cops are not good cops” and “Black is not a crime.” They chanted, '[Expletive] Donald Trump.’”

As protesters marched toward City Hall through the street, supporters followed closely behind, blasting music from their cars. Others shouted support from their porches. “Black Lives Matter” signs were in the window sills of many homes.

Protesters kneel in front of law enforcement during the Anaheim protest.
Protesters kneel in front of law enforcement during the Anaheim protest.
(Photo by Kali Navarrete)

“When people get slain, people will take to the streets,” said Nick Las, 25.

Las, who’s black, said Floyd’s death hit close to home.

“It could have been me, my little brother, my father …” he said.

Las said he wants to be a police officer. He said he hopes to be a part of the systemic change that needs to happen in law enforcement.

Police maintained a heavy presence throughout the event, and some tension developed when protesters hit a police roadblock at Broadway and Harbor Boulevard.

Protesters chanted as they walked, and some periodically set off fireworks.

Jocelyn Cunningham, 28, of Anaheim said the march was the first one she’s ever taken part in. Cunningham said she was disgusted by the video of Floyd’s death. She took part in the march to show that the culture of law enforcement needs to change.

“This is my city,” Cunningham said. “We need to move forward in serving justice when people are killed by police.”

The protesters gathered at the foot of City Hall and listened to impassioned speakers as police stood in a line across the street in riot gear.

Protesters peacefully returned to the park, and many continued marching.

Juan Hernandez, 31, co-owner of Anchor Muffler stood outside of his business as protesters walked by. He was grateful that the protest didn’t turn into a riot.

“We want justice too, but we have to protect our business,” Hernandez said.

Anaheim declared an unlawful assembly shortly after 7 p.m. as some protesters splintered off into smaller groups and began throwing fireworks at police. The city had issued a curfew of 6 p.m. earlier in the afternoon.

About 20 people were arrested by the end of the night, including a group that attempted to loot a store, according to Anaheim police.

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