Trayvon Martin Protesters Headed to Beverly Hills
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Updated at the bottom with the Beverly Hills Police Department's response. First posted at 1:25 p.m.
See our report from the protest: Trayvon Protesters to Beverly Hills: 'Put Your Champagne Glasses Down'
Given that L.A. has seen four nights of Trayvon Martin protests, with at least three of them involving some level of mayhem and unrest, it'll be interesting to see how the city of Beverly Hills deals with those angry over the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
A group called Justice for Trayvon Martin Los Angeles says it plans a "peaceful protest" over the case today at La Cienega Park, which is in the southeast corner of that gilded city, just a mile or so from traditionally African-American neighborhoods along Pico Boulevard:
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The action happens starting at 5 p.m, organizers say: There will be speakers, drummers and chanting, they add.
Demonstrators are demanding that federal civil-rights charges be brought against Zimmerman, a Latino who gunned down the African-American teenager in a confrontation in Florida.
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According to a statement from organizers sent to the Weekly, they are calling ...
... on local and national government to End the practice of racial profiling that leads to the killing and imprisonment of Black Bodies. The aim of this peaceful rally is to bring together a multiracial coalition of people that can continue the national and now international call for Justice for Trayvon Martin and his family.
Capt. Mark Rosen of the Beverly Hills Police Department told us local authorities were aware of the demonstration. It wasn't immediately clear if protesters have necessary permits, however.
[Added at 1:53 p.m.]: We spoke to organizer Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, who says the protest will involve only sidewalks and the public park and thus doesn't need any permits.
"We're going to lawfully assemble at the park," she said, " ... and stay on the sidewalk."
She said that, after a few nights of demonstrations in Leimert Park, "It's important that we have this conversation in different parts of the city:"
For us Beverly Hills is a mostly upper-middle-class white neighborhood. Trayvon was murdered in a neighborhood that was mostly white.
She said demonstrators planned to march north on La Cienega and then west on Wilshire Boulevard until they reach Beverly Drive.
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[Update at 3:25 p.m.]: Lt. Lincoln Hoshino of the Beverly Hills Police Department said the force would go into "full mobilization" mode in response to the demonstration: That means all available sworn personnel would be on-call. It's somewhat comparable to LAPD's "tactical alert" mode, he added.
That said, Hoshino emphasized that officers would be there to protect marchers:
We want them to have a successful event. We're there for their protection as well as to protect to our community.
He agreed with Cullors-Brignac that protesters, so long as they stayed on sidewalks and obeyed the law, didn't need permits for the event. He added that police officials have been in communication with organizers to try to ensure things go smoothly.
[Added at 4:09 p.m.]: The Beverly Hills Police Department this afternoon issued a "traffic alert" for the area of La Cienega and Olympic and urged motorists to "take alternative routes."