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These two weeks of protests that are still spreading overseas have gone through phases of commemoration to marching to looting and arson and back to peaceful marching again. Each day had a decidedly different feel here in Los Angeles.

I started taking pictures on the 29th of May in DTLA.

It went from a small freeway shutdown to some flashbang showdowns around Broadway and 7th where actual fireworks were thrown into the street and rubber bullets found a target of at least 1 man.

The second and third nights were in the Fairfax district and downtown Santa Monica where plunder and property destruction were prevalent. In Fairfax there were some very fervent standoffs between the sign carrying activists and the LAPD.

By June 1st The National Guard appeared throughout the cities protest areas and surroundings.

The marches following this in DTLA were raucous but lawful and one sensed that the ranks had been cleansed out by those that did not want the essential message of George Floyd's death to be compromised by pillage. These marches usually ended at City Hall, however hundreds were arrested in DTLA for curfew violations. At this date the city is saying that it will not pursue charges.

During the Hollywood protest on June 7th the police presence was practically nonexistent on Hollywood Boulevard while the national guard had left earlier.

The overall protest that day in Hollywood was estimated at 20,000 people.

No significant retail plundering has been reported for that day.

Full story and photo galleries: The Los Angeles George Floyd Demonstrations by Robert Stuart Lowden

Meanwhile, in Pomona--June 12: Yesterday was an overwhelmingly emotional experience, and without any pretensions I can honestly say, a huge success. I am proud to call the small group that was able to coordinate the effort and bring massive amounts of community members—again, mostly YOUTH—out into the streets to make their discontent heard and felt.

The march began at Towne and Arrow, then proceeded down Garey to Gordon and the Pomona Police Officer’s Association. . . . The microphone was opened up to hear from members of the crowd. We centered the Black voices and the voices of youth. People spoke raw truths about their experiences with police and racism. Miranda Sheffield, a community organizer and a coordinator of the action, explained why she was running for city council: to bring community issues into the halls of power. She received a large round of applause. Jesus Sanchez passed out flyers showing the steady growth in the police department’s budget under the Sandoval regime. “Knowledge is power,” he said, “and now you all have just a little bit more knowledge.” Yesenia took the mic and urged us all to become involved in the organizations that are working for social justice in the city. I asked people to spend a few minutes introducing themselves to someone they didn’t know. “Organizing is building relationships of trust, and our relationships with one another is the source of our power,” I explained.

Next stop was the home of Mayor Tim Sandoval. “I’m with you! I’m with you!” Sandoval exclaimed. (More of his statements in the story below.) However, the mayor’s sister arrived and said something to the effect that protesters have a lot of nerve showing up here when we are “killing each other in the streets.” Many of us took that as a racist comment, and some assumed that it reflected upon the mayor himself. By that time several of the mayor’s racist neighbors had arrived and attempted to bait the crowd, who would not have any of it. Most of the neighbors, however, remained supportive. . . .

Full Story: Pomona Rally for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd Hits Police Association and Mayor's House by Benjamin Wood

May 1st , 2020: A protest occurred at City Hall with a sight not often seen in Los Angeles county; that of a crowd of at least 5 to 700 republican supporters of Donald trump stridently presenting their views concerning California's Covid 19 Shelter in Place restrictions.

There were plenty of people representing the colorful potpourri of modern day American Alt -right fans. Some folks were constitutionalists. citing the first and second amendments was a popular battle cry. A few signs argued for Trump's divinity. They were joined by some End Times citizens who argued for the prophylactic qualities of christian conversion. Some were anti vaccination people.

One protester was a special education teacher who cited the pain her students are going through without her. One business owner I met expressed concern about his workers and their families. He was anxious to rehire. A few truckers expressed outrage at inflated shipping prices from overseas.

A number of people were convinced that Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci were minions of a secret society bent upon population reduction. Some people were having their kids chant about Dr. Fauci's verisimilitude.

Full story and photos (four groups): May Day, May Day. The LA Right Cry For An Opened Southland by Robert Stuart Lowden

On April 3, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and after a nine-month moratorium on new fracking operations, California's Department of Conservation approved 24 new fracking permits in Kern County, the center of the oil industry in California. Fracking opponents strongly condemned the approval of new fracking permits at a time that the state is virtually shut down, and people are dying everyday from the COVID-19 virus.

Full story: California Approves New Fracking During COVID-19 Pandemic by Dan Bacher (Indybay)

Activism continues despite the COVID-19 outbreak. Black Lives Matter has regular virtual protests; some weekly peace vigils are continuing (with masks and six-feet distancing); and on March 31 car rallies occurred in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles protesting ongoing ICE detentions.

Cesar Chavez Day: ICE detention centers are hotbeds for the spread of deadly disease to prisoners and personnel, potentially killing thousands. Protesters in California did their best to follow shelter-in-place rules by protesting in caravans, and covering their cars with banners and messages for Governor Gavin Newsom.

Video (YouTube): #ReleaseThemNow COVID 19 Safe Car Rally by Lauren Steiner

Coverage From Central California: Despite Shelter-in-Place Orders, Activists Publicly Demand Release of ICE Detainees from IndyBay

Demanding action for homeless families at higher risk from coronavirus, homeless and housing insecure families successfully moved into six vacant, state-owned properties in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles on March 14, with scores of community supporters coming out in support. In the next few days, similar families reclaimed more houses, with thirteen providing shelter now. CalTrans owns the houses, and activists estimate that nearly 200 sit vacant.

Coverage: Homeless Families Take Action in Time of Housing and Health Crisis from Indybay

As I approached the crowd it was noticeably smaller than in previous years. The eventual cheering that came in response to the March's organizers was hearty but not the massive roar I had heard in the three previous marches. Still it was a big crowd, full of dissatisfied and articulate people of both sexes and multiple classes.

Anti Choice protesters attempted to disrupt with Very Tall Signs and a bullhorn or two but were contained by Women's March peace keepers and the LAPD (pictured in photo set 1).

The national movement has been going through changes resulting in three of the founders leaving the board of directors. Their departures were due to remarks or alliances with the BDS movement or pro Palestinian, anti Zionist political stances. Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam also had a major role in the argument.

Also, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles was not invited to participate in the final stage event due to similar criticisms.There were however plenty of Black Lives Matter folks of various ethnicities in this fourth Los Angeles Women's March.

Another division was evident in some of protest graphics which addressed the stance of "trans-exclusionary radical feminists" or TERF's who do not accept transwomen as female.

So the crowd was smaller but everyone seemed to be in sync with the original goal, to defeat Donald J. Trump.

Story and photos (seven sets): Fourth Women's March Los Angeles by Robert Stuart Lowden

November 20, 2019, West Hollywood: The event was well attended. Women and men of every pronoun were there. They were there to remember those that far too many others would rather have forgotten, as though their existences had never been worthy of a mention in the records of humanity. They were there to remember the murdered and the fatally maligned who had walked among us all at some time.

Since 2008 there have 3313 trans person reported homicides worldwide. There were 250 murders in North America since said time with the largest carnage taking place in Central and South America with 2608 violent deaths perpetrated against trans people.

These numbers may be somewhat inaccurate due to the practice of “misgendering” where the deceased's birth gender is listed on the death certificate as opposed to the victim's trans status. This essentially “camouflages “ their daily life practices making it difficult to compile actual murder statistics and motives.Trans suicides were also mentioned.

Story and photos (three sets): March to Remember by Robert Stuart Lowden

Two decades is a long time and a lot has happened in the movement for global justice since the first Independent Media Center was established in preparation for the World Trade Organization protests that began in Seattle on November 30, 1999. The global IMC network exploded on the scene in cities around the world within a few years of N30. It didn't come easy, though. Volunteers have been arrested, jailed, maimed, and even killed by state forces. While the network has contracted in the intervening years, Independent Media Centers continue to make major contributions supporting worldwide struggles for justice.

Full story: Indymedia Fighting Spirit Carries on 20 Years After Seattle Protests from Indybay

Also: “Don’t Hate the Media, Be the Media”: Reflections on 20 Years of Indymedia, a Radical Media Movement from Democracy Now!

9-20-19, mid-day: Turnout at Pershing Square appeared to be in the thousands, and later reports corroborated it. There were a lot of children, many of them elementary school age (and in some cases accompanied by teachers), but older kids, too, and adults of all ages. Many youths carried signs expressing fear or fatalism about their futures. One read, “I’m studying for a future that doesn’t exist.” Various other signs advocated eating vegan (e.g., “Go vegan or go extinct”). Another reportedly said, “The wrong Amazon is burning.”

The rally at Pershing Square was followed by a march down Hill to City Hall.

Story and photos (three photo sets): Los Angeles Youth School Strike For The World Climate Crises by Robert Stuart Lowden

Additional story and photos: Global Youth Climate Strike in Los Angeles by R.P.

On September 1, residents of Glendale organized a demonstration in front of the Americana shopping center. About 20 people, adults and children, participated. Reactions from the crowd were largely receptive. The thick foot and auto traffic was encouraged to reconsider some shopping decisions and lifestyle choices. The Blackstone corporation was mentioned several times.

Other demonstrations in the LA area are planned, including one on Thursday September 5th in front of the Brazilian embassy at 8484 Wilshire Boulevard from 11am to 1pm.

Story and photos: Save the Amazon Demonstration RP

In the early 1850s, Thomas Jefferson Mayfield spent 10 years of his childhood living with and being raised by the Choinumne Indians at Tulare Lake (in the San Joaquin Valley). For years at a time he only spoke their language. But for the rest of his life he refrained from talking about his experiences due to the climate of the time (e.g., the Choinumne were at war with the state of California not too long after he lived with them)--until the late 1920s, when local historian Frank F. Latta, recorded his memories.

The book, in Mayfield’s own words, describes many aspects of daily life, including house construction, interactions with neighboring peoples, hunting and gathering, cooking, domesticated animals, story telling, and child’s play. There’s also a fair amount of vocabulary.

Story: Indian Summer: Traditional Life Among the Choinumne Indians by RP

One of two events in and around downtown L.A. on Saturday March 16, the march went on Alvarado Street near MacArthur Park and then on 7th. There appeared to be at least 50 people, many of whom went into the busy street. This was part of a day of international solidarity with Venezuela, the target of yet another U.S. coup, following the standard patterns implemented against other countries countless times—except maybe more blatant than in earlier decades. And, of course, most media outlets and politicians act like they don’t notice the pattern. The rally portion included leafleting to passersby. The second event was at Pershing Square later that day.

Another action took place in Washington, D.C.; several had already taken place in the Bay Area in preceding weeks.

Story and photos: Passionate March in Support of Venezuela by Ossrae

“. . .The division that the corporate media folks were constantly harping on wasn't anywhere visible. There weren't any obvious Farrakhan supporters anywhere evident nor anyone openly citing their opposition to him. . . .

“. . . As far as the signage was concerned it was mostly homemade and tended towards citing the inadequacies of the 45th president and his policies. The Pandora's box the President had unleashed with his classless profanities were still being stridently reflected back at him,Loud and Clear.

“One can only wonder what our great grandmothers would have made of the new rhetoric.

“. . . Trans women were lightly represented in the crowd but heavily supported by the speeches from the stage. And as those rhetorical flourishes were spoken the crowd roared again and again in favor of full inclusiveness. They also spoke of the high murder rate against trans women worldwide.

“I have covered protests in LA for awhile now and this was the only time I ever cried. Just a few tears but it hit me as to what I was actually witnessing. . . .”

Robert Stuart Lowden’s article and photos: Photoset 1 | Photoset 2 | Photoset 3 | Photoset 4 | Photoset 5 | Photoset 6 | Photoset 7

More coverage: Women’s March, 2019 by RP

Other Indymedia coverage: San Francisco Bay Area: Indybay

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