Zimmerman protests: Peaceful at Los Angeles City Hall

Crowds were gathering in front of Los Angeles City Hall and in South Los Angeles for a fourth night of demonstrations protesting the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Police cordoned off Los Angeles City Hall with tape as a protest over the Trayvon Martin verdict grew Tuesday evening. The demonstrators marched to the LAPD headquarters, where about 20 police in riot helmets were standing with batons, but the mood was tranquil.

After 7 p.m., on Spring Street, about 200 protesters marched in the road and chanted, "No justice, no peace. No racist police."

Police trailed the protesters in cruisers and told them they needed to move to the right side of the road, but protesters were not following directions.

Earlier, 100 protesters waving signs and chanting slogans gathered on the City Hall’s west steps and marched up and down Spring Street. The demonstration was organized by the ANSWER coalition, a national group that describes itself as anti-war and anti-racist. Members of Occupy Los Angeles and other groups joined in.

Eugene Puryear, an organizer with ANSWER, said the group planned the action at City Hall to shift attention away from Monday night's violence in South Los Angeles. While he said he didn't judge anybody's reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, he said he said his group is non-violent and is "trying to say there is a constructive avenue to organize."

Speaking over a loudspeaker, Puryear said this week's protests aren't going to end until Martin's killer gets his due.

"We won't stop marching until there is justice for Trayvon Martin," he said. "We won't stop sitting in . . . We won't get out of the streets."

He said his group would not heed call by some civil rights leaders to put protests on hold because of last night's violence because that's not what civil rights leader Martin Luther king did when people warned him "it's too hot in the streets."

King, he said, "knew that the most effective way to confront this is not to get off the streets; it's to get in them and start a people's movement, a united people's movement, against the root cause of what's going on."

He said the protest would last an hour or two.

In the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Leimert Park, LAPD officers announced warnings to protesters, asking them to stay out of the street except when crossing the street.


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Twitter: @katelinthicum


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