This article was originally published on the independent publication Sciberr News.
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Protesters calling for justice against police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd gathered around Balboa Park on June 2. With signs in hand, protesters gathered at the 1,200-acre urban cultural park in hopes of having their message heard.
We followed a small group that veered off of the main group for some time and marched through downtown San Diego. Going from Sixth to Eleventh Street and looping back around toward Balboa Park. During this time we were able to speak to some of the protesters and gather their thoughts.
A protester, who asked to remain anonymous, told Scriberr News: “I believe the onus is on every police officer in America to realize that their levels of force and using chokehold restrains against, more often than not, black people is just unwarranted and should not be tolerated.”
Many of the protesters around echoed this sentiment.
While passing by a group of officers, one protester from the crowd said: “We don’t hate you, we just want to send a message.” Several police officers surveyed the area, but no rioting had broken out in the crowd.
Just one day prior, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) tweeted that 17 arrests had been made “related to protests.”
Another protest was held near Balboa Park on June 1 near 1400 Broadway, which was later declared by the SDPD as unlawful assembly. The tweet continued on saying, “Those who remain or return against this lawful order may be cited/arrested and risk exposure to chemical agents & less-lethal force applications.”
The group that veered off from the original crowd of protesters later met back near the entrance of Balboa Park where people sat in circles and several speakers took the time to share their thoughts.
One man shared his story of attempting to find a job as a minority. He had explained he never even got so much as an interview until he changed his hairstyle. Another woman screamed at the crowd repeating how tired she was of discrimination and police brutality.
At the end, the final speaker asked the circle to kneel in a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd. They then headed toward Gaslamp where another group of protesters were set up. The crowd followed soberly.