Thousands of protesters moved through the streets of West Hollywood today, beginning with a sit-in on the pavement at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Cienega and marching throughout the city in what was billed online as a “West Hollywood LGBTQ+ for #BlackLivesMatter protest.”
The protest, which was not a Black Lives Matter endorsed protest, lasted for more than 6 hours, is the latest among thousands of protests that have occured nationwide after George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis cops. During the event, the Minnesota Attorney General revised the 3rd Degree Murder charges against Derek Chauvin, raising it to 2nd Degree Murder and imposing criminal penalties against the other officers who were involved. And President Obama spoke, urging protesters forward and to “make people in power uncomfortable.”
West Hollywood’s LGBTQ+ march was impromptu and organizers were not identified, taking place on the same day that Christopher Street West announced a June 14 LA Pride Solidarity March.
Today’s event was largely joyous and energetic and while the crowd was not observing social distancing, most were wearing masks. Among the marchers were several antagonistic participants but no violence or looting was been reporting.
Angela, who did not allow a photo or use of her last name, is a Los Angeles resident and a black lesbian. She told Los Angeles Blade that she never comes to West Hollywood. “I never visit this part of town becuase I don’t feel welcome here. I don’t feel welcome as a black person. I don’t feel welcome as a lesbian and I don’t feel heard.”
But the event was attended by a very diverse and local group. “Today I am proud to be here. I am proud of the white boys! I am proud to find community here and to march. I feel safer here than at any of the several protests I have attended in the past week,” she said.
Marchers split, with some traveling west along Santa Monica Boulevard from La Cienega to Robertson and returned to La Cienega and some continued marching eastward, traveling along Gower to Hollywood Boulevard.
In an unrelated but important development, LAPD has banned the use of rubber bullets unless police are attacked by lethal weapons, following a statement yesterday by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Meanwhile, West Hollywood announced a 9:00 PM curfew as did LA County. Other municipalities have announced various begin times. Curfews in LA are are expected to continue until further notice. Meanwhile, San Francisco declared that tonight’s curfew would be it’s last.
The LA County area appears to be slowly pivoting back to the Covid-19 crisis just as new cases and deaths have begun to rise slightly in recent days. 46 deaths and more than 1155 new cases were reported today.