Demonstrators in DTLA March for Our Lives Call for End to Gun Violence in Schools, Stricter Laws

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles Saturday morning for a local March for Our Lives rally, joining people across the country in calling for an end to violence in schools.

It was a rather peaceful day of protest as no arrests were made and just three medical-related calls were made, as the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted just past 4 p.m. "This truly is the City of Angels," the agency said.

Protesters hold signs during the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Protesters hold signs during the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Marchers called for the passage of a law to ban assault weapons frequently used to carry out mass shootings; stop the sale of high-capacity magazines and close loopholes in background checks and implement laws that require background checks on gun purchases.

The main march in Washington, D.C. was organized by #NeverAgain, a group of students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed in the February 14 massacre.

Officials anticipated about 60,000 people at the Los Angeles rally, which began at 9 a.m. at 603 South Spring Street. It culminated at City Hall, where speakers, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, addressed the crowd.

Other speakers included Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, Amy Schumer and Yara Shahidi. Charlie Puth, Rita Ora and Leona Lewis performed on stage.

Related: Follow live coverage by Los Angeles Times reporters. 

Protestors in Los Angeles chanted “Protect kids, not guns,” and “What do we want? Gun Control! When do we want it? Now!"

Activists hold signs during the March for Our Lives rally in Los Angeles on March 24, 2018. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Activists hold signs during the March for Our Lives rally in Los Angeles on March 24, 2018. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Some spoke about the routine nature of active shooter drills, just one part of living in a society where mass shootings feel like a very real possibility."

"My first day of semester this year started with an active campus shooter training," said Philip Germaine. "Over a week later was (the) Parkland (shooting) and I think that brought a lot of attention to this growing issue that we’ve been ignoring for far too long."

Bill Gruytch, a fifth grade teacher, expressed concern over the idea of arming teachers like himself — a potential solution advocated by Trump.

"10-year-olds shouldn’t have to worry about having guns — they should be worried about long division," he said. "Teachers shouldn’t be armed."

A group of young women who attend high school in Mission Viejo and were at the march in downtown Los Angeles Saturday called for more gun restrictions like stricter background checks. One held up a sign that read "Fix this before I text my mom from under a desk." Another sign read "Take away guns from the ones who take lives

Olivia Dutcher, one of the thousands protesting, agreed there's a need to improve how background checks are performed. She called for "a system that’s based on confidence, not speed."

"So that we can make sure these people that are getting guns aren’t going to be going to schools like (in) Parkland," Dutcher said.

A woman from Pasadena said she was marching in solidarity with the Parkland shooting survivors and that she was inspired by her own children who are 10 and 15.

"They are growing up in a culture where they have lockdown drills. I never had to do that," the woman said. She was holding up a sign that read "Stop ENRAbling mass shootings" in reference to the National Rifle Association's being "involved in politics."

Meanwhile, another young woman echoed the sentiments being felt by the masses of students and other protesters around her.

"We’re hoping that change will come out," she said, raising a sign into the air. "We’re hoping there will be some sort of gun restriction that helps this to stop happening."

"We’re terrified," she said.

The Los Angeles rally was mostly peaceful, but supporters of President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association staged a counter-protest at LAPD headquarters in downtown, according the Los Angeles Times.

Two people carried signs that together read "Over 200k women use semi-automatics to defend themselves against rape, assault, robbery & abuse every year and you are marching to take away their empowerment."

Saturday's event is a followup to national school walkouts on March 14.

Similar marches took place in Santa Clarita, Burbank, Pico Rivera, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Santa Ana and Brea.