by Eddie Perez
Associated Press Jul. 30 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of protesters denounced recent fatal police shootings and issued a call for peace in the community even as police arrested at least nine people in separate marches Sunday.
Some 200 vocal protesters rallied in front of police headquarters, while a separate group of about 100 people marched silently along a two-mile stretch of a main thoroughfare, The Orange County Register reported (http://bit.ly/MNpcWX ).
Chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!,” the vocal group started marching toward Disneyland, but a police line stopped the group a half-mile away. The blockade, which temporarily closed several traffic intersections, caused the demonstrators to head away from the resort.
“What’s going on here in Orange County is symbolic of a problem with the system,” Eduardo Perez, a 21-year-old student, told the Register. “This wouldn’t happen to white people. This is racism, simple as that.”
The other group was dressed in white and remained silent as part of their call for peace. They walked five-people across, shoulder to shoulder, some carrying messages such as “We are Anaheim” and “Peace begins with us.” City Councilwoman Kris Murray and state Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat who represents Anaheim, were among the marchers.
At least nine people were arrested, Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. Most face minor charges including failure to disperse and blocking traffic, but one woman is accused of attacking a clerk at a mini market.
She was held on suspicion of assault and battery, Dunn said.
It was the ninth consecutive day of protests against police. The demonstrations occurred hours before an evening memorial service for Manuel Diaz, a 25-year-old man who was shot dead July 21.
Some marchers attempted to join the service but were turned away by organizers, who had hired their own security team, Dunn said. The evening vigil was peaceful, he said.
Police said Diaz, who had a criminal record, failed to heed orders and threw something as he fled police. He was unarmed.
The night after Diaz was killed, police shot to death Joel Acevedo, a suspected gang member they say fired at officers following a pursuit.
The shootings ignited four days of violent protests, culminating Tuesday night in hundreds of demonstrators surging through downtown. Police said some in the crowd smashed the windows of 20 businesses, set trash can fires, threw rocks and bottles at police and damaged City Hall and police headquarters. Two dozen people were arrested.
The Orange County district attorney’s office is investigating, and the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI agreed to review the shootings to determine if civil rights investigations are warranted.
A group of demonstrators rallied peacefully in front of Disneyland on Saturday.