On Tuesday afternoon, several hundred demonstrators voicing their outrage at the refusal of a grand jury to induct police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown marched through south central Los Angeles.
The demonstration was one of several throughout the area on Tuesday, including one at UCLA. Los Angeles has thus far avoided the violence and looting that have rocked Ferguson, and which have appeared sporadically in other cities, particularly New York and Oakland. Activists have vowed to continue demonstrating; the goal seems to be largely to vent frustration at the Ferguson proceedings rather than to achieve specific demands.
Update (6:00 p.m. PDT): A part of the demonstration has broken away downtown and is attempting to block the 110 freeway near Figueroa St. Police cars are rolling slowly, and fitfully, through the throng of protestors, who are attempting to instigate confrontations by climbing atop the cars and claiming they were "assaulted." Police appear to be acting with extreme restraint, reasoning with the demonstrators.
Update (7:00 p.m. PDT): After a group of protestors attempted to block the 110 freeway, apparently jumping a fence to do so, they abandoned the effort upon being confronted by police and urged back by some fellow activists. The protest then turned back downtown towards LAPD headquarters, where it remained about 200 strong. Demonstrators continued chanting slogans at police and marching arm-in-arm.
Elsewhere in L.A., there was an "intersection lie-down" in Beverly Hills, and a protest at Santa Monica City Hall. Another protest is planned for the LAPD building on Wednesday at noon, and NBC reports that Oakland--which saw the most disorderly protests Monday--is also bracing for further protests in the coming days.
Update (8:00 p.m. PDT): Hundreds of protesters have reached the the downtown LAPD administration building. Police are standing outside the building in a straight line providing a demarcation for the protesters. Police are wearing helmets.
The demonstration has been loud but entirely peaceful so far. There are lots of police officers and many barricades. The barricades are low and would be easy for the crowd to jump over. (R. Wilde)
Images: Screenshot/Ustream (Brian Hayes)
Update (8:05 p.m. PDT): Demonstrators in L.A. are facing off against police in riot gear, shouting "Hands up! Don't shoot!" (Brown was not shot in the back, or while his hands were raised in surrender, though many activists continue to claim that he was.) Some shout: "L-A-P-D, you can't hide! We charge you with genocide!" and "Hey, pigs, what do you say? How many kids have you killed today?"
In Oakland, an American flag has reportedly been burned.
Update (8:25 p.m. PDT): In a fascinating exchange, a group of protestors confront a black police officer and tell him he is being oppressed by his colleagues. He argues patiently with them, telling them color does not matter. They disagree, and tell him his race matters above all.
"You're a black man. You will never reach the heights of a white officer." "You're just like me. You're a black man. And when you take off your uniform, they will treat you as such....You are black. You will always be black. Never forget your own." They applaud.
Update (9:25 p.m. PDT): Protesters have made their way on to the 110 freeway and stopped traffic in both directions. CHP are trying to corral them and get them to move off the roadway. As of now traffic is at a standstill.
Update (10:20 PDT): Freeway is reopened in both directions. Crowd has dispersed and fragmented mostly moving north on to overpass.