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Protests Over Zimmerman Verdict Held Across Southern California

Demonstrators angry over the George Zimmerman “not guilty” verdict took to the streets across Southern California for a series of protests.

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LOS ANGELES (KTLA) – A series of vigils were planned in Southern California on Saturday in reaction to the “not guilty” verdict in George Zimmerman’s murder trial in Florida.

The rallies were part of what’s being called “Justice for Trayvon National Day of Action” after Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

The vigils were organized by the Reverend Al Sharpton earlier this week.

The civil rights leader and MSNBC host called on Americans outraged by the verdict to head to federal buildings and courthouses in more than 100 cities across the nation.

The efforts are meant to pressure the Justice Department to charge George Zimmerman with violating Trayvon Martin’s civil rights.

In Southern California, protests were scheduled in Los Angeles, Riverside, Anaheim, San Bernardino and Palmdale.

A protest at the  Federal Courthouse Building in downtown Los Angeles on Spring Street was scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, attended a rally in New York City, along with Sharpton.

Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, was set to attend a vigil in Miami.

WESTWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) — Three people were arrested on Thursday in Westwood, where a small group of protesters jogged through the streets in support of Trayvon Martin.


Protesters jogged through Westwood in support of Trayvon Martin on Thursday.

The event began as a peaceful run at the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard.

The small group, unhappy with the George Zimmerman verdict, chanted as they ran, voicing their distrust of the legal system.

“Black people ran through the streets on the news and it was called a riot,” one of the demonstrators said.

“Here I guess we’re going to have white people running through the streets, and we’ll see if they call that a riot as well,” he said.

Once protesters began blocking traffic on Westwood Boulevard, officers were forced to take three people into custody, police said.

More protests were expected across the country on Saturday.

The Reverend Al Sharpton will lead a national “Justice for Trayvon” day, with rallies expected in 100 cities nationwide.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KTLA) — A protest over the George Zimmerman verdict in Beverly Hills snarled traffic on Los Angeles’ Westside on Wednesday.

The demonstrators walked Wilshire Boulevard into the heart of Beverly Hills, taking their message to a new audience.


Protesters marched along Wilshire Boulevard into the heart of Beverly Hills.

They even held up signs and chanted outside restaurants on the elite Rodeo Drive.

“It’s a society thing. Trayvon Martin was not killed in his neighborhood,” demonstrator Camille Miller said.

“We don’t need to really be protesting all the time in our neighborhoods, in our community,” she said. “Our community is aware, our community is affected.

“We need to sometimes make awareness in other communities and have them bring it home to their dinner table when they come home as well,” Miller said.

Some compared the Florida neighborhood where Martin was killed to Beverly Hills — upscale and white.

Followed by Beverly Hills police, the demonstration lasted for more than three hours.

“I want them to get that this is a divided nation,” demonstrator Claire Gentry, who brought her daughter and grandchildren, said.

“Half of our nation don’t understand our grief and our dismay,” she said.

Police said there were no problems with the protesters, who remained peaceful.

At the end of the day, the tireless group said they felt satisfied and a sense of solidarity with the Beverly Hills community.

“We got some of the neighbors out here, it was really nice,” Miller said. “Some of the neighbors were saying, you know this does affect everyone,” she said.

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Demonstrators angry over the George Zimmerman verdict returned to the streets again Wednesday night, this time for peaceful protests.

A heavy police presence surrounded a group of about 100 protesters who gathered at Leimert Park.


Protesters march peacefully through downtown L.A.

The protesters made it a point to remain calm, and denounced the violence that erupted in the Crenshaw District on Tuesday night.

Community peace guards were also on hand to keep the demonstration peaceful.

Hundreds of protesters also gathered in downtown Los Angeles to protest Zimmerman’s acquittal, many carrying signs with pictures of Trayvon Martin.

The protesters marched from City Hall to LAPD Headquarters, where officers in riot gear surrounded the crowd.

Many at the rally condemned the verdict in the Zimmerman trial as racist, while others focused their anger on the justice system and Florida’s “stand your ground” laws.

Some of the demonstrators moved to Broadway and Spring streets, blocking traffic for a short time.

Most of the crowd has dissolved by nightfall.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Los Angeles police were keeping a watchful eye Tuesday, after peaceful protests over the George Zimmerman verdict turned violent Monday night.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Leimert Park on Monday evening for a vigil in support of Trayvon Martin.


Protesters converge on the Crenshaw District on Monday night. (July 15, 2013)

Then, sometime after 8 p.m., a group of as many as 150 people broke off and moved along Crenshaw Boulevard, authorities said.

Aerials of the street showed the demonstrators walking in large groups, at times blocking traffic.

A number of protesters were riding bikes, and others carried signs protesting the verdict.

Some people began engaging in lawless activity, jumping on cars and assaulting bystanders, according to police.

At one point, a group of marchers ran past security guards and into a Walmart store at the Crenshaw Mall.

The LAPD declared a tactical alert at 9 p.m. as protesters became more aggressive. As many as 350 officers responded to the area.

An unlawful assembly was later declared by police when protesters refused to disperse.

Sky5 was overhead when it appeared that a local TV news crew was overrun by some of the demonstrators.

The photographer was reportedly taken to a local hospital suffering from a concussion.

At least 14 people were arrested for failing to disperse, police said.

The unrest brought out some of the city’s top officials, who held a news briefing around 11 p.m. on Monday.

“We are a better city than what we have seen tonight at the hands of a few people,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

“We will make sure the community here in South Los Angeles is safe on its streets,” he said.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck echoed the mayor’s call for peaceful protests, saying violence would not be tolerated.

“We deployed over 300 police officers, a dozen arrests, multiple incidents of vandalism, several incidents of assault,” Beck said.

“This will not be allowed to continue,” he said. “Unfortunately, the rights of the many have been abused by the actions of a few.”

Beck also made it clear that authorities would be taking a harder line, requiring city permits for larger protest groups and responding quickly to any signs of unrest.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTLA) –  Protesters broke windows and started a series of fires on Saturday night in Oakland following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, police said.

Occupy Oakland organized the gathering over Twitter, and encouraged protesters to wear hoodies, as Trayvon Martin did when he was shot to death by Zimmerman.

Shortly after the verdict was read, the group tweeted: “#hoodiesup. OGP @ 10 pm tonight. Bring ur hoodie.”

At least 100 people showed up for the rally in downtown Oakland.  While it began peacefully, some people in the crowd started breaking windows, vandalizing cars, and spray painting buildings.

A female photographer from KTVU television suffered minor injuries and her camera was broken.

The Oakland Tribune also reported several windows at its downtown offices were broken, and one of the paper’s photographers describe the scene as being “tense.”

No arrests were made, according to local media reports.

Early Sunday morning Occupy Oakland posted several more tweets about the protest.

“What happened in #Oakland tonight was not just about #TrayvonMartin. It was also about #OscarGrant, #RaheimBrown, #AlanBlueford @OaklandElle.

“Calm down, twitter. A few broken windows in #Oakland is not a #riot, its a dance party. #RipTrayvonMartin #JusticeForTrayvon,” the group tweeted.

Occupy Oakland planned another rally on Sunday at 4 p.m.

A jury of six women returned the not guilty verdict Saturday evening after more than 16 hours of deliberations over two days.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, but the jury had the option of finding him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.