Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Trayvon Protest in LA Sunday 7/14
Below is a photo/video log of how, on Sunday, July 14th, the Justice for Trayvon Martin Protest March found its way onto the 10 Freeway.
It began as a fairly small demonstration at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Blvd in front of the Crenshaw Plaza Mall at 4 PM.
Chants of "Justice for Trayvon Martin" were heard.
Drawing parallels between Trayvon and Emmett Till.
And then, without warning, in the middle of someone's speech, people suddenly started walking en masse up the southbound side of Crenshaw. Which is in the opposite direction of the 10 freeway.
After about 15 minutes of walking in this direction, the crowd turned around and took over both sides of Crenshaw. And then this baby's Skittles fell on the ground. I handed them back to his mother.
Beyonce plead from the billboard above us to "Live For Now," brought to you by Pepsi.
And when I got to this intersection, the protestors had already blocked the tram, seconds later it went in reverse all the way back to the station.
This "2 Guns" movie billboard allowed us to imagine what might have happened if it hadn't been just one gun. Or to think, yay, more guns. Or, Denzel Washington's in a comedy with Mark Wahlberg?
Just before 6 PM we were closing in on the 10 and it seemed obvious to me that what no one was saying, was indeed going to happen.
At the entrance to the 10 surprisingly, cops were only on the off ramp opposite of us. No one was guarding the on ramp. As the group caught up, the intersection began to fill and then suddenly... the crowd started walking down the on ramp.
And this is a still from the moment we stormed the 10.
And this is a video from that moment.
And this is me on the 10. (That's right, I'm that girl who only gets followed by people who wonder why I'm walking by myself in this neighborhood because it's not safe.)
We spread out further as a march on the 10 than the news portrayed.
People cheered us on from the overpass above.
And this is when we hit the police line which had formed seconds earlier when, laden with riot gear, the police jogged up the opposite side of the 10 in order to deploy ahead of us.
This is video of that interaction. Just before I shot this, the police officer was getting jostled pretty hard. I thought for a moment, it was about to go down when an older black man came out in front and appealed for calm. At this point I turned around and realized that the cops AND the general traffic had closed in on us and people were running to climb up the hill for fear of a rubber bullet situation.
I felt like we were ants escaping water the way we all streamed rapidly up a now trodden ivy path.
Here we go.
Just a few protestors left on the 10.
Protestors standing their ground.
Moments later, they retreated up the hill and only cops were on the 10.
And then I noticed this guy on his bike.
And... here he is getting handcuffed.
Here's a closer look. Now, to get to off the freeway, we all had to climb a concrete barrier into some guy's backyard. I twisted my ankle as it was an arm's length over my head. On the second try to get over, some guy launched me up when I stepped into his threaded together fingers. I then dropped just as far down on the other side, followed immediately by a muscular guy who came down on his back, dust flying everywhere. I was always better at the dismount. Of course, as I turned the corner I saw people crawling on their hands and knees through a tiny maintenance door in the wall. Oh, well.
For quite a long while they kept the 10 closed and there were only cop cars on it.
Then, there were no cars on it. Some protestors proclaimed that they were heading on towards Hollywood, others said they were going to Beverly Hills, I decided to return to my car as my ankle was fairly painful. This involved walking all the way back down Crenshaw.
The Crenshaw return group was much smaller, but still a couple hundred, and was led by a Black Panther who reminded me of that scene in "Malcolm X" when he would start and stop us all solely with hand signals. We walked past low-riders as a drum corps joined us with the most serious of faces. By then my cell phone had died so I experienced the last half hour through my eyes rather than through my screen. Finally, we amassed at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Blvd, right back where the whole thing had begun. Less cops than before, more honking in support than before, and darkness was falling on what seemed like, an if not brighter day, a day that had drawn attention to the dire consequences of racial profiling and the entirely uneven application of the law.