LOS ANGELES — Against the backdrop of the iconic City Hall building, a Latino man shouting “No puedo respirar, mamá” (“I can’t breathe, mama”) became the rallying cry on Saturday, as a multitude of non-Spanish speakers repeated the chant during a protest against the killing of Black lives by police.
The Los Angeles protest was one of many that happened across the nation and the world. There was minimal police presence.
This past week, both mayor Eric Garcetti and police chief Michel Moore were criticized for violent treatment against protesters. In response, Garcetti scaled back policing for future protests and has asked the police department to minimize the use of rubber bullets. He also announced that $150 million would now be diverted to youth programs—a move seen by many protesters as an attempt to appease calls for his resignation. At the city’s first virtual town hall, residents also asked for Moore to resign.
“Honestly, what brings me out here is seeing online how brutal the police are to the protesters and the fact that Black lives do matter. I just want to make a difference and change, have my voice be heard for them and us,” Victoria, 22, told Latino Rebels at the Saturday protest.
When asked about the lack of police presence and what is being viewed as a de-escalation, Victoria said: “I still can’t trust them.”
Volunteers at the protest were handing out kits that contained a face mask, a bottle of water, gloves and a snack. There were several booths with healthy drinks and juices while others were registering people to vote.
Many Latino families brought their children to participate in the protest, and as expected in the L.A. scene, the protest also had a paleta man selling popsicles as well as an aguas frescas lady with the churro man nearby. A group of Aztec dancers also performed as families mingled.
“We are protesting George Floyd’s death, but it goes beyond that. We are protesting the many years of LAPD’s brutality, racial profiling of the L.A. County Sheriff Department in our Black and Brown communities, the discrimination against the LGBT community, the out of control budgets of a militarized police while these poor neighborhoods lack youth programs, jobs. We are protesting the lack of equities in our nation,” Leo, 42, of East Los Angeles told Latino Rebels.
Here are other photos from Saturday’s protest: